With a volatile economic climate post-pandemic, almost all markets have experienced a change in trends, and the U.S. housing market is not immune to a possible correction.
Real estate in the U.S. has shown signs of cracking as demand for houses at historically high prices has started to show signs of softening in many first-world countries. In 2022, around 377,810 homes were sold, which indicated a fall of 36.4% compared to 2021.
While the prices for homes saw a 1.3% increase in December 2022 compared to December 2021, the demand for houses decreased. The number of houses sold in December 2021 was 594,277; in December 2022, only 377,810 were sold, the lowest recorded since February 2021.
What does the current state of the U.S. housing market mean for potential buyers and sellers; is a possible decline around the corner?
Current Housing Prices in the U.S.
House prices vary depending on the state you plan to buy or sell in. Hawaii is the most expensive state, with a median house price of $615,300 as of 2022, followed by California. The least expensive states in the U.S. are West Virginia and Mississippi, with a median house price of $119,000.
Iowa is the cheapest to afford if we consider the income-to-mortgage ratio of the state of just 10.6%, followed by Indiana. A house in Iowa has an estimated monthly mortgage rate of around $700. If you plan on buying with cash, West Virginia is currently the cheapest state.
While every state has its own housing market, all states have seen a price increase year over year, despite the decreasing demand trend.
Prices have increased so quickly over the past several years, leaving many wondering how an impending recession may impact near-term demand and mortgage rates.
Recession and Mortgage Rates
Several economists have pointed out that a rolling recession might be very well underway, as the effects of inflation are becoming more and more evident, and the Fed’s price hikes to tackle this aren’t stopping anytime soon.
A recession traditionally means lower house prices due to demand destruction. But how much prices may fall is the difficult question; after all, there is a lot more money in the system than pre-Covid, chasing a limited supply of resources such as homes.
The 30-year fixed mortgage rate has hit as high as 7% in some regions, the highest level seen in the last 20 years. In a worst-case stagflation scenario, where inflation keeps climbing but economic production begins declining, the Fed’s interest rate policy may be completely unpredictable.
Is Now a Good Time to Buy a House in the U.S.?
Buying a house in the current environment is challenging, but a long-term homeowner should be less worried about short-term economic or interest rate fluctuations than speculators.
The best practice for investors is to make sure that you have the necessary finances and can afford the finances at the current rates and costs without betting on a change in rates or a possibility to refinance in the short run.
Prices may be at historic highs, but even a potential recession may not damage demand enough to cause a significant fall in prices. The only certainty is that the state of the U.S. housing market is experiencing an unprecedented time where the economy, rates, and demand are pressuring the market in different directions, and the most influential factor is impossible to predict.
Josh is a financial expert with over 15 years of experience on Wall Street as a senior market strategist and trader. His career has spanned from working on the New York Stock Exchange floor to investment management and portfolio trading at Citibank, Chicago Trading Company, and Flow Traders.
Josh graduated from Cornell University with a degree from the Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management at the SC Johnson College of Business. He has held multiple professional licenses during his career, including FINRA Series 3, 7, 24, 55, Nasdaq OMX, Xetra & Eurex (German), and SIX (Swiss) trading licenses. Josh served as a senior trader and strategist, business partner, and head of futures in his former roles on Wall Street.
Josh's work and authoritative advice have appeared in major publications like Nasdaq, Forbes, The Sun, Yahoo! Finance, CBS News, Fortune, The Street, MSN Money, and Go Banking Rates. Josh currently holds areas of expertise in investing, wealth management, capital markets, taxes, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and personal finance.
Josh currently runs a wealth management business and investment firm. Additionally, he is the founder and CEO of Top Dollar, where he teaches others how to build 6-figure passive income with smart money strategies that he uses professionally.