2018's Housing Market Is Off And Running: What You Need To Know

Overall, it looks like 2018 is off to a good start in most markets.

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BY ELLEN PARIS FEBRUARY 7, 2018

Realtor.com recently released its January 2018 housing trend analysis for the top 500 metro areas. Overall, it looks like 2018 is off to a good start in most markets. Affordability for first-time buyers combined with low inventory makes it a seller’s market for entry-level to mid-tier homes, defined by realtor.com as $100,000-$350,000. The jury is out on the direct impact the stock market’s recent volatility will have on housing.

Here are the national numbers comparing January 2018 with January 2017:

  • Median Listing Price: $269,500, up 8%.
  • Days on Market: 89 days, down 7%.
  • Inventory: 1.23 million listings, down 8%.

Javier Vivas, director of economic research at realtor.com, provides some insight: “What’s interesting is we are seeing the start of the buying season begin as soon as January. This year’s buying market isn’t waiting for spring, which is the traditional beginning we’ve seen in past years.”

With inventory selling faster than it did last January, the country is facing a housing shortage, especially for first-time buyers. “We are seeing the lowest level of inventory in at least two decades. It really is a shortage of historical proportions,” Vivas observes.

“It’s a good time to be a seller in the low- to mid-range market,” Vivas adds, pointing to an imbalance of buyers to sellers there. It’s a hard time to be a millennial just starting a family and looking to become a homeowner.

Here’s the picture from around the country, according to realtor.com’s numbers.

In the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area, Days on Market are down 16.7% from last January. Combine this with Active Listings, down 16.2% year over year, and it sounds like a shortage to me. "In the Seattle market, we've seen inventory numbers decline for three years in a row with each January since 2016,” explains Matt van Winkle, founder of RE/MAX Northwest (Seattle). "January of 2018 is down again from previous years, but buyer demand remains as high. In popular neighborhoods in the City of Seattle, we see just one-third of a month of inventory and less than 20 days average on market."

Even Las Vegas, slammed when the housing market fell apart, is on the mend. The metro area of Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise is up and running. Days on Market are down 20.3% year over year. The Active Listing count is down 28%.

Read the full article on Forbes and see what Tim Kelly Kiernan, director and REALTOR® at RE/MAX Excellence had to say.