Here’s a brief view of what Redfin expects to see in 2017:
1. The housing market will continue to grow, but at a slower pace due to affordability pressures
The percentage of homes in America’s largest cities that are affordable on a median income has declined the past four years and will continue to fall in 2017.
Even with rising affordability pressures, Redfin predicts: Median home sale prices will increase 5.3% year over year, similar to the estimated 5.5% this year; existing homes sales are forecasted to increase 2.8% in 2017, compared to the estimated 3.4% increase in 2016; inventory will recover slightly, up 1.7% year over year, after falling an estimated 3.4% in 2016.
2. New construction growth will slow
Given that nearly one in four construction workers is foreign-born, stricter immigration policies are likely to make the labor-shortage problem even worse, slowing new-construction growth to 6% in 2017 if these policy changes go into effect next year. This will most affect the availability of affordable starter homes, which means higher prices for first-time buyers.
3. Mortgage rates will increase, but not by much
Redfin expects the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to climb, but no higher than 4.3% in 2017. Wall Street’s optimism for economic growth and inflation in 2017 is expected to keep mortgage rates low.
4. More people will have access to home loans
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are increasing the size of loans they’ll back, while large financial institutions have introduced mortgages requiring as little as 1% to 3% down. The Trump Administration’s plans to privatize Fannie and Freddie likely won’t take effect until at least 2018.
5. Millennials will move to second-tier cities
Markets able to offer buyers new construction at affordable prices will take center stage in 2017, since many first-time homebuyers have been priced out of the starter-home market in more expensive metropolises. Redfin analysts expect cities like Raleigh, North Carolina, Austin, Texas, and North Port, Florida, which lead the country in the number of new residential building permits per 1,000 people, to lead this trend.
6. Real estate commissions will continue to fall
A 2016 Redfin study found that most people who had sold a home in the past year got a discount on the commission they paid to their broker, and so did almost half of buyers. Redfin projects that as a growing number of disruptive companies offer new, money-saving ways to buy and sell homes, even more consumers will save on real estate fees in 2017.