LOS ANGELES, Oct. 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- A combination of high home prices and eroding affordability is expected to cut into housing demand and contribute to a weaker housing market in 2019, and 2018 home sales will register lower for the first time in four years, according to a housing and economic forecast released today by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®' (C.A.R.).
C.A.R.'s "2019 California Housing Market Forecast" sees a modest decline in existing single-family home sales of 3.3 percent next year to reach 396,800 units, down from the projected 2018 sales figure of 410,460. The 2018 figure is 3.2 percent lower compared with the 424,100 pace of homes sold in 2017.
"While home prices are predicted to temper next year, interest rates will likely rise and compound housing affordability issues," said C.A.R. President Steve White. "Would-be buyers who are concerned that home prices may have peaked will wait on the sidelines until they have more clarity on where the housing market is headed. This could hold back housing demand and hamper home sales in 2019."
C.A.R.'s forecast projects growth in the U.S. Gross Domestic Product of 2.4 percent in 2019, after a projected gain of 3.0 percent in 2018. With California's nonfarm job growth at 1.4 percent, down from a projected 2.0 percent in 2018, the state's unemployment rate will remain at 4.3 percent in 2019, unchanged from 2018's figure but down from and 4.8 percent in 2017.
The average for 30-year, fixed mortgage interest rates will rise to 5.2 percent in 2019, up from 4.7 percent in 2018 and 4.0 percent in 2017, but will still remain low by historical standards.
The California median home price is forecast to increase 3.1 percent to $593,450 in 2019, following a projected 7.0 percent increase in 2018 to $575,800.
"The surge in home prices over the past few years due to the housing supply shortage has finally taken a toll on the market," said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. "Despite an improvement in supply conditions, there is a high level of uncertainty about the direction of the market that is affecting homebuying decisions. This psychological effect is creating a mismatch in price expectations between buyers and sellers and will limit price growth in the upcoming year."
Outmigration, which is a result of the state's housing affordability issue, will also be a primary concern for the California housing market in 2019 as interest rates are expected to rise further next year. The high housing cost is driving Californians to leave their current county or even the state. According to C.A.R.'s 2018 State of the Housing Market/Study of Housing: Insight, Forecast, Trends (SHIFT) report, 28 percent of homebuyers moved out of the county in which they previously resided, up from 21 percent in 2017. The outmigration trend was even worse in the Bay Area, where housing was the least affordable, with 35 percent of homebuyers moving out because of affordability constraints. Southern California did not fare any better as 35 percent of homebuyers moved out of their county for the same reason, a significant jump from 21 percent in 2017. The substantial surge in homebuyers fleeing the state is reflected by the home sales decline in Southern California, which was down on a year-over-year basis for the first eight months of 2018. Outmigration will not abate as long as home prices are out of reach and interest rates rise in the upcoming year.
2019 CALIFORNIA HOUSING FORECAST
SFH Resales (000s)
Median Price ($000s)
Housing Affordability Index*
30-year fixed rate
p = projected
f = forecast
* = % of households who can afford median-priced home
Appleton-Young will present an expanded forecast at a luncheon Thursday afternoon during REimagine!, C.A.R.'s annual real estate trade show, running Oct. 9-11 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, Calif. The trade show attracts nearly 6,000 attendees and is the largest state real estate trade show in the nation. The remaining highlights of REimagine! include:
Thursday, Oct. 11
Thursday's REal Talks sessions include: "Culture of Accountability for Success," with Vanessa Bergmark, owner and president of Red Oak Realty; "The Search for Humanity in Real Estate," with Caroline Pinal, co-founder of Giveback Homes; "Raising the Standards," with Gretchen Pearson, president of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Drysdale Properties; and "Lessons from a Top Broker," with John Aaroe, founder of John Aaroe Group and strategic advisor of Pacific Union International.
Thursday's deep-dive sessions include: "How Are California's Mayors Tackling the Housing Crisis?," presented by C.A.R.'s Center for California Real Estate's California Series. C.A.R. CEO Joel Singer will moderate a discussion with mayors from Anaheim, Santa Ana, Pomona, and El Monte to discuss how they are tackling the housing affordability crisis in their cities.
Thursday's keynote luncheon speaker is C.A.R. Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. She'll present her "2019 Housing Market Forecast" and share valuable information and insight about next year's California housing market, including projected home sales, median prices, housing affordability, inventory supply, and mortgage rates and availability. (Paid event)
Leading the way ...® in real estate news and information for more than 110 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States, with more than 190,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.
SOURCE CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS