The coronavirus pandemic turned the real estate market into a frenzied rollercoaster ride for both buyers and sellers. Especially because of the historically low mortgage rates coupled with the inventory shortage.
But with the pandemic subsiding, the burning question is, what will happen in real estate in 2022? Housing experts forecast the market could calm down this year and ease up a little, especially for many first-time buyers.
While no one knows what the future has in store, here we have compiled a list of five real estate trends that home buyers and sellers should be aware of as they navigate the market this year.
Due to the surge of buyers during the pandemic, both existing and new home inventory has been extremely low throughout 2021. According to experts, inventory will remain scarce this year and we will continue to be in a seller's market. The February 2022 Monthly Housing Market Trends Report by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) revealed that the national inventory of active listings declined by 24.5 percent over last year, while the total inventory of unsold homes, including pending listings, declined by more than 15 percent. Newly listed homes were also down 0.5% nationally compared to a year ago.
One of the main catalysts for the low inventory is that homeowners have been hesitant to list their homes for sale, as there is no guarantee they will be able to find an affordable home to purchase or a rental to lease. Builders are trying to ramp up production, but new home construction isn’t keeping up with the surge in demand. There have been huge issues with the supply chain, which made construction materials more expensive and difficult to come by.
Tips for buyers: To find a good home in this tight market, do as much legwork as possible. Make sure you get pre-approved for a mortgage before you even start house-hunting. Sacrifice some of your nice-to-haves for your must-haves. If the neighborhood you have been eyeing is too competitive, try to expand your search. Lastly, do not hesitate to work with a local and experienced realtor who can help you navigate the complicated process of buying a home, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. Your agent knows what is happening on the market and can give you the best advice to find the perfect home that fits your budget and lifestyle.
Tips for sellers: Low inventory, where homes are being snatched up fast, means less competition! Even if your home isn’t quite as appealing to many other buyers, or you intend to sell as-is without renovations, you still stand a better chance in the current real estate market. Just make sure you plan for your next home before you decide to sell.
Over the past year, mortgage rates have stayed extremely low, but that will likely change in 2022. New projections by the Federal Reserve show seven rate hikes this year, up from three projected rate hikes in December 2021, which means mortgage rates will likely rise. Both Redfin and Realtor.com predict a 30-year-fixed mortgage rate will reach 3.60 percent, while the Mortgage Bankers Association expects the average rate on a 30-year loan to reach 4 percent, by the end of 2022. The combination of lingering inflation, consumer spending, and the pandemic subsiding is what's driving mortgage rates higher.
Just like groceries, gas, and everything else, house prices are going up. And while historically low mortgage rates helped offset the higher listing prices in 2021, experts forecast both home prices and mortgage rates to go up this year.
According to a recent report by the NAR, the national median sales price of single-family existing homes increased to $363,700 by the end of 2021, mainly due to strong home buyer demand and limited housing supply. In 2022, existing home sales prices will continue to increase, rising 2.9 percent.
Tips for home buyers: Know how much house you can really afford and commit to staying within that budget no matter what. Likewise, take the time to research lenders who have a good combination of low rates and low fees, then apply for a mortgage pre-approval.
Tips for home sellers: Higher home prices mean a nice profit is on the horizon! But to get more money from your biggest investment, work with an experienced and local real estate agent to help you get the best offer for your home.
Home appreciation refers to a home or investment property that increases in value over time. Throughout 2021, homes appreciated at rapid rates, mainly because the market has been so hot across the country. Housing experts suggest it may change in 2022, they expect the rapid appreciation rate to slow down and will be lower than last year. According to the NAR, home sales will take a breather after what has been a spectacular housing market in 2020 and 2021. Thus, home price appreciation is expected to be at 2.8 percent this year, down from 14.7 percent in 2021.
Tips for home buyers: The slowdown provides a better environment for buyers because the homes they purchase may not skyrocket in value as quickly as they would have in 2021, and may help avoid bidding wars. But at the same time, prices won't seem to be going down. Many Americans will also no longer face the prospect of home values far outpacing their pay raises.
In 2022, renovations will continue to come in all shapes and sizes. More people will gravitate toward using nature-inspired colors to give a calming vibe to their homes, including greens, blues, taupes, and browns. Many potential and recent buyers are drawn to colors associated with water and sky, as demonstrated in Zillow's interior paint color analysis. Research has found that homes with light blue bathrooms could sell for 1.6 percent more than expected or nearly $5,000 on a typical U.S. home. Meanwhile, dark, moody blues in the bedroom could sell for a $1,500 premium.
Aside from matching the colors of Mother Earth, sustainability is also a top priority, especially for younger homeowners. Home listings with descriptions mentioning eco, energy-efficient, or similar terms have sold more than two days faster than expected. Listings that mention drought-resistant features sold 13 days faster, and smart sprinkler systems and double pane windows installed for energy conservation were associated with homes selling more than a week quicker than expected.
After the tough two years, one thing that almost everyone learned is to prioritize their mental health. We see this reflected in thoughtful wellness home designs, including retreat features such as meditation rooms, reading nooks, and even spa-inspired bathrooms. According to Zillow, a freestanding bathtub can lead to a 2.6 percent premium on a home’s sale price. Even features such as a “she shed” can help a home sell for 2 percent more than expected. Natural light will also be a priority, especially in home offices and common spaces.