May 14, 2021
- To keep up with the rapid changes COVID-19 is causing in the economy and housing market, the realtor.com® economics team provides a weekly blog and video update on the relevant real estate and economic information you need to know to navigate the housing market in these challenging times.
- This week, Chief Economist Danielle Hale discusses gas shortages and eye-popping inflation data, particularly for used cars.
- She gives highlights from the latest job openings and labor turnover report, celebrates another drop in jobless claims data, and notes that small business optimism and challenges are consistent with these other data reports.
- In housing, we saw a drop in mortgage rates despite inflation and Danielle discusses the implications for home buyers.
- This week’s housing trend updates show that homes are still selling fast, but also show a tiny buyer-friendly step in the form of steady or slowing price gains and inventory declines as new listings grew. This is consistent with data from Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey on buyer and seller confidence.
- Finally, a recent Realtor.com® survey of new homeowners by my colleague, George Ratiu, sheds light on how they’ll adjust to a return to work. A key takeaway: remote work is a strong preference.
- For more real-time updates, follow the realtor.com economics team on twitter: @rdc_economics.
- I’m Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com® and here’s what you need to know this week.
- Aside from gas shortages in the Southeast, this week’s big data news was inflation, which registered some eye-popping numbers.
- You might recall that last week we noted a 16-year high I car sales; this week we learned used car prices surged 10-percent in April, the largest increase since the series began in 1953. This is a sign of consumers preparing to get out and about more than they have in the last year.
- We saw another post-pandemic low in jobless claims this week and a series high level of job openings at the end of March.
- Small-business optimism also rose in April, and showed hiring and higher prices. As job openings mount, many small-businesses reported difficulty finding workers.
- Despite inflation data, mortgage rates dipped. The last time core inflation surged this high in one month was April 1982, when Freddie Mac’s 30-year mortgage rate was 16.9 percent. While I don’t expect double-digit mortgage rates any time soon, I do expect higher rates as inflation worries persist.
- For potential homebuyers, this dip and the fast-moving pace of homes are good reasons to act quickly on home listings that might be a good fit. A mortgage rate typically can’t be locked until after the buyer has a contract on a home.
- And when I say fast-moving, I mean FAST. Time on market was 4 weeks shorter than at this time last year.
- Part of the gap is 2020’s unusual seasonality when homes sold slower in the spring and fastest in September and October. While we expect fall to be competitive, this year’s seasonal pattern should be more normal, with homes selling fastest from roughly now until mid-summer.
- This week the housing market took a very tiny step in a buyer-friendly direction as yearly price growth and inventory declines slowed or steadied compared to last week. It is still solidly a seller’s market, with prices rising by double-digits. However, new listings growth is up and may continue as more homeowners who plan to list this year do so.
- Additionally, Fannie Mae’s recent survey shows homebuyer enthusiasm waning while seller attitudes improve. For the first time, more respondents said it was a bad time than good time to buy a home. Despite this, 69 percent of respondents said they’d buy, not rent if they were to move now.
- As businesses move forward with reopening, a realtor.com survey showed that new home owners in particular appreciate remote work.
- With pre-pandemic trips to work taking a record length of time, it’s not surprising that new homeowners want to commute less. Among those whose companies haven’t announced long-term plans, nearly a quarter report they’d find a new job in the event that they had to go back to the office full-time. Some seemed to have planned for that eventuality with nearly ⅓ saying they’d just go back to the office, but nearly ½ would try to arrange a hybrid schedule that maintains some remote working.
- You’ll find details and our housing data for download at realtor.com/research. And you can also follow us on twitter for real time updates.
- Stay tuned, and we’ll keep you up to date.
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