A Record Low Number of People Think Now is the Time to Buy a House

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Only a quarter of Americans, the fewest ever on record, consider right now the right time to purchase a new abode, according to a survey released Monday by Fannie Mae.

Rising home prices and mortgage rates have scared away consumers worried about affordability — but the “good” news is there are hardly any homes left for them to buy anyway. Call it the best of a worst-case scenario.

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There’s no big mystery here: house prices are climbing faster than the faciest of private penthouse suite elevators. . The cost of a house rose 18.5% in December after rising 18.1% in November, according to CoreLogic. Price appreciation more than doubled last year to 15%, up from 6% in 2020.

Simultaneously, mortgages are climbing at a speed that would shame Spider-Man. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose from 2.98% in November to 3.55% in December, according to Freddie Mac, which would add $200 to a monthly mortgage payment on a median-priced US home. (The mortgage rate climbed even more last month, and now stands more than a full percentage point higher than a year ago at 3.87%). Even if you did want to buy a house in this environment, good luck finding one:

  • There were a mere 790,000 existing single-family homes on sale in December, according to the National Association of Realtors. That’s the lowest level on record.
  • While no one is especially interested in buying, 69% said– perhaps obviously–that now is a good time to sell a house.

No End in Sight: Sorry to disappoint, but because supply is so limited, the lack of demand won’t be enough to clip the wings on costs, according to Goldman Sachs. “We still think demand will eclipse housing supply [this year],” wrote analysts from the investment bank in a note. “And we continue to expect year-over-year [home price appreciation] of 10.1% for full-year 2022.”

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