Rising inflation, soaring home prices, and increasing mortgage interest rates have combined to cause a slowdown in the U.S. housing market. To help quell inflation, which reached 8.6% in May, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point in June – the largest hike since 1994. Higher prices and 30-year fixed mortgage rates approaching 6% have exacerbated affordability challenges and rapidly cooled demand, with home sales and mortgage applications falling sharply from a year ago.
Across the nation, monthly mortgage payments are up more than 50% compared to last year, and this increase in rising costs of homeownership means that there are many sidelined prospective buyers. Nationally, the median sales price of existing homes recently exceeded $400,000 for the first time, a 15% increase from a year ago, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. However, as existing home sales continue to soften nationwide, the housing supply is slowly improving, with inventory up for the second month. In time, price growth is expected to moderate as supply grows; for now, however, inventory remains low, and buyers feel the squeeze of higher prices all around.
Locally, there are many hopeful signs of a stabilizing housing market. One very promising indicator is the sharp increase in housing inventory. As we know, increased housing inventory supply will help lead to more affordable prices in the long run. Inventory levels grew 31.9% to 1,638 units. New Listings in the Chattanooga region increased 22.4% to 1,633. Pending Sales were down 5.1% to 1,089.
Prices continued to gain traction in our area. The Median Sales Price increased 19.5% to $328,725. For reference, the Median Sales Price in June 2021 was $275,000. Days on Market was down 23.5% to 13 days. Buyers felt empowered as Months Supply of Inventory was up 25.0% to 1.5 months.
One thing that’s certain is that nothing stays the same, and this is especially true in the real estate market. We currently find ourselves in a time of change, and that’s why if you’re looking to enter the housing market, whether it’s to buy or sell, utilizing the expertise of a Realtor® is so critical. Realtors have the tools and the data to help make the most out of your most valuable investment. That’s Who We R®.