The National Association of Realtors has reduced its outlook for existing sales in 2016 from a 3 percent increase over 2015 (5.45 million sales) to an increase of only 1 to 2 percent (5.30 to 5.40 million sales).
The new forecast, three months before the opening of the home sales season, amends an early one made at NAR’s annual meeting in November.
“This year the housing market may only squeak out 1 to 3 percent growth in sales because of slower economic expansion and rising mortgage rates,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a video posted on the NAR site. “Furthermore, the continued rise in home prices will occur due to the fact that we will again encounter housing shortages in many markets because of the cumulative effect of homebuilders under producing for multiple years. Once the spring buying season begins, we’ll begin to feel that again.”
With one month of data remaining for 20151, Yun expects total existing-homes sales to finish the year up 6.5 percent from 2014 at a pace of around 5.26 million –the highest since 2006, but roughly 25 percent below the prior peak set in 2005 (7.08 million).
Yun did not alter his November price forecast. The national median existing-home price for all of 2015 will be close to $221,200, up around 6 percent from 2015. Yum calls for prices to soften to a 5 to 6 percent increase in sold prices.