Home loans are a significant source of revenue for credit unions, and seeing members established in their own residences fulfills the people-helping-people philosophy. Members on the lookout for new homes will find their options more limited in early 2020 according to Realtor.com’s December data release, which reveals a tight housing market as the inventory of homes for sale has declined to its lowest point since January 2018. Properties are also selling more quickly than last year but listing price gains have so far failed to materialize alongside the inventory shortage.
The total number of homes available for sale continues to decline at an accelerating pace both nationally and locally in the nation’s largest metros. Nationally, inventory decreased 12.0 percent in year-over-year in December, a faster rate of decline compared to the 9.5 percent year-over-year drop in November and the largest year-over-year decline in almost three years. This amounted to a loss of 155,000 listings compared to December of last year, and inventory is now at its lowest point in almost two years. Additionally, the volume of newly listed properties has decreased by 11.2 percent since last year, further adding to a housing crunch that looks more severe than the last shortage in 2017 and shows no signs of abatement.
In December, the decline in inventory of lower-tier properties priced at under $200,000 accelerated further, down 18.1 percent in December compared to 16.5 percent in November, and the decline in inventory of mid-tier properties priced between $200,000 and $750,000 also accelerated, to a 10.2 percent year-over-year drop in December compared to a 7.4 percent decline in November. Even upper-tier properties declined more quickly than November, by 4.4 percent year-over-year compared to November’s decline of 1.7 percent, as very low inventory in the lower tiers pushed buyers to consider more expensive homes.
Housing inventory in the 50 largest U.S. metros also declined by 12.0 percent year-over-year in December. As inventory has reached its lowest point in almost two years, the typical property is selling more quickly than last year. Nationally, homes sold in 79 days in December, two days more quickly than December of last year.