From a housing perspective, the biggest story of 2019 has been the market’s reaction to sustained low interest rates in the U.S.
While we’ve seen a boom in refinancing across the country, there has also been an uptick in sales during the second half of this year.
New data from a RE/MAX National Housing Report shows October 2019 sales were up 3.9% over October 2018, with modest increases in sales prices. Across 54 metro areas, the median sales price of $254,800 set an October record.
The main factor driving prices up is depleted inventory in metros nationwide.
Inventory fell 9% year-over-year in the areas tracked by RE/MAX, marking the steepest decline in any month since May 2018. Another effect was a low average of 49 days on the market for homes purchased in October.
In Philadelphia, the drop in inventory has been even more pronounced over the past year. Housing inventory fell 21.5% from Oct. 2018 to Oct. 2019, or from 22,930 homes to 20,523.
During that time period, the median sales price in Philadelphia rose from $225,000 to $244,000, according to RE/MAX data.
“Demand is strong, due in part to low interest rates, but buyers have limited options because inventory remains such a challenge,” said RE/MAX Holdings CEO Adam Contos. “As a result, prices keep rising. Fortunately, key forecasts suggest an increase in new-homes moving onto the market next year, which would help address the inventory situation and potentially slow the steady price gains we’ve seen for so long.”
Photo credit: Brian W. Schiller/FAL (Free Art License)