Experts Predict What the Housing Market Will Be Like in 2021
The housing market has been on fire this year with record-low mortgage rates and a sudden wave of relocations made possible by remote work. Meanwhile, home prices have pushed new boundaries as buyer demand continues to surge. As we near the end of 2020, here’s a look at the expectations of real estate experts for 2021.
Danielle Hale, realtor.com chief economist: We expect sales to grow 7 percent and prices to rise another 5.7 percent on top of 2020’s already high levels. While we expect mortgage rates to tick up gradually, sales and price growth will be propelled by still strong demand, a recovering economy, and still low mortgage rates. High buyer demand and still-lagging supply will keep prices growing, but at a slower pace than 2020 as buyers contend with mortgage rate and price increases that create affordability challenges.
While younger Millennial and Gen-Z buyers are expected to play a growing role in the housing market, fast-rising prices will create a bigger barrier to entry for the many first-time buyers in these generations who don’t have existing home equity to tap for down payment savings. Although supply is expected to lag, we do expect the declines to slow and potentially stop by the end of the year as sellers grow more comfortable with the market environment and new construction picks up. Single-family housing starts are expected to grow another 9 percent in 2021. On the whole, the market will remain seller-friendly, but buyers will still have relatively low mortgage rates and an eventually improving selection of homes for sale.
Robert Dietz, senior vice president and chief economist, National Association of Home Builders: With home builder confidence near record highs, we expect continued gains for single-family construction, albeit at a lower growth rate than in 2019. Some slowing of new home sales growth will occur due to the fact that a growing share of sales has come from homes that have not started construction. Nonetheless, buyer traffic will remain strong given favorable demographics, a shifting geography of housing demand to lower-density markets and historically low interest rates.
But supply-side headwinds will persist. Residential construction continues to face limiting factors, including higher costs and longer delivery times for building materials, an ongoing labor skills shortage, and concerns over regulatory cost burdens. For apartment construction, we will see some weakness for multifamily rental development particularly in high-density markets, while remodeling demand should remain strong and expand further.
Elana Knoller, Better.com chief product officer: Homeowners and the housing industry at-large will utilize technology even more next year to engage buyers and execute deals. 2020 changed the game in everything from touring properties to looking for and locking rates, and participating in secure eClosings.
We expect homeowners looking to refinance will do so sooner rather than later to take advantage of the low interest rate environment. While the Fed has indicated it doesn’t plan to hike rates soon, uncertainty over what the new administration might do in addition to broad availability of a Covid-19 vaccine, on top of what we hope is an improving economy, could bring an end to the ultra-low rates that we’ve seen this year. We will continue to see the growth of Millennial home buying regardless of the rate backdrop...