Housing inventory down, home construction costs rise

National

A customer’s lumber sits on a cart at a Home Depot store on July 26, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A study checking on the end of year and New Year housing market by real estate company Redfin said, despite a record low inventory of homes for sale, the average price of a house had gone up, as had the number of buyers.

Kicking off 2022, Redfin reported the number of active listings across the United States had fallen 27% compared to the year before.

“We’re kicking off yet another year with a whole lot of buyers whose home search has been ongoing for months, and they are as eager as ever,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “This month, the stage will be set for the 2022 housing market, and we’ll be closely watching whether prices climb like they usually do in January or whether they start off high and stagnate.”

Fairweather said the company is watching hot markets like Austin, Texas, where the prices are up and the supply is limited, and homeowner selling interest is increasing.

He also said the data Redfin reviewed for various housing markets showed sale prices for homes were up 14% in the past month, as were the asking prices for new listings.

According to Redfin, the median home-sale price had increased to $358,460, while new homes were starting off at $341,200. On top of that, the number of homes for sale fell 10%, but the company’s listing agents reportedly think the number of listings might be about to rise.

The hot housing market is also causing homes to sell faster, with 29% of homes that went under contract accepting a buyer offer in just the first two weeks, according to Redfin data. Heading into the start of 2022, mortgage applications were down 4%, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

At the same time, Freddie Mac, one of two federally-backed mortgage companies, reported interest rates rose to 3.11% on 30-year home loans. The company said rates would rise to 3.22% this week.

The increased interest rate in 2022 accompanies both the Federal Reserve speeding up the tapering off of pandemic stimulus purchases and a previously announced set of interest rate hikes for the new year. Additionally, the rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages also went up, going from 2.33% to 2.43% this week.

While housing markets across the U.S. continue to see price increases for rent costs and mortgages, the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s latest formulae show an increased loan size approval for prospective buyers.

The FHFA’s loan limits for 2022 increased to mortgages as high as $647,000 for a one-unit home, such as a single-family house. However, in higher-cost markets, such as Los Angeles, the limit could go up to as high as $970,800. The higher-cost markets account for about 100 of the nation’s roughly 3,000 counties.

Higher prices lead to higher mortgages as inflation and supply chain issues continue to push homeownership out of reach for America’s first-time buyers. Cost increases are exacerbated by an expected increase to the cost of lumber, a primary material for building homes.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, lumber prices are about to go up, pushing the cost of lumber for building a new single-family home up almost $20,000. The organization said in recent months, prices of lumber have almost tripled thanks to inflation and ongoing supply chain problems.

NAHB said “price hikes have caused the average price of a new single-family home to increase by more than $18,600,” leading to “soaring prices” which are hurting affordability and “disrupting the housing market.”

FHFA also announced higher fees on high balance loans and second mortgages beginning in April 2022. The increased fees on deliveries and acquisitions are expected to “minimize market and pipeline disruption.”

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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