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The housing market has been breaking new records across multiple fronts throughout 2021, leaving home shoppers wondering if they should buy now or wait in the hope that more homes become available, and at more affordable prices in 2022.
So far, home price appreciation is up year-over-year (YOY) by 18.5% in the third quarter, the highest level in the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index history. Inflation has shot up at the fastest pace since 1982. At the same time, the number of houses for sale has dropped, creating greater pressure on home prices.
Housing supply plunged to its lowest level in history, with just 1.38 million homes on the market in June, down 23% annually. Buyers scooped up homes faster than ever before, shrinking the number of days homes spent on the market to a record-low of just 15 days.
And mortgage rates are holding steady around the 3.1% mark for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage–although it’s not the lowest on books, it’s mighty close.
Here’s what this means for 2022, according to housing experts.
Will Home Prices Rise In 2022?
Depending on whether you’re the buyer or seller, you might be very happy or very disappointed to learn that home prices are poised to rise in 2022, most experts say. While headwinds like rising mortgage rates and a significant uptick in Covid-19 cases may impede price growth, they won’t stop home price appreciation from climbing.
“Much of what drove high price growth this year will follow us into next year,” says Nicole Bachaud, an economist at Zillow. “We will expect to see prices rising at extremely high levels for the first few months of 2022 before beginning to taper off towards more normal levels.”
Most experts say housing demand will stay strong in 2022 unless inflation continues to outrun wages at the current feverish pace, which could stall buyer appetite. Rising inflation is also putting renters in a pinch who can no longer afford to save as much for a down payment when rental rates are skyrocketing.
The national average rental price for a one-bedroom jumped 21.3% and more than 16.7% for a two-bedroom in October on a YOY basis, according to the latest Apartment Guide and Rent.com report.
“What can affect demand is the affordability challenge,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com. “One thing that can offset that is a more competitive labor market.”
A recent survey by the Conference Board suggests a 3.9% in wage costs for companies in 2022, which would be the highest jump in salaries since 2008. But even this bump wouldn’t make it easier for most entry-level buyers to access homeownership.
The wild card that could cool home prices is getting Covid under control enough that it would convince people to move back to big cities, says Todd Teta, chief product and technology officer at Attom, a property data firm. He also says that the reverse could happen—a spike in Covid cases, for example—stoking more interest in suburban real estate.
“If the pandemic fades, interest in rental housing in congested urban …….