Five takeaways on current housing market trends

Economists Ken Rosen and Lawrence Yun, center, answer audience questions after the residential housing presentation.

Did you know today’s U.S. homeowners are staying in their homes longer?

Homeowner tenure now averages 10 years compared to the past when they were more likely to stay put for an average of 6 years before moving, said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®.

Yun shared some of the current trends and issues facing the U.S. housing market in his presentation, “Residential Economic Issues and Trends Forum,” at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago on Friday. He was joined by Ken Rosen, an economist with Rosen Consulting Group.

Here are four more takeaways from the presentation:

  • Housing inventory is historically low and some areas are harder hit than others – Total U.S. inventory is averaging about four months of supply. But some communities, even in the Midwest, have even less. Kansas City has a two-month supply of inventory while Austin is just shy of that.
  • Sellers fear the “empty chair” scenario – Because of the low inventory, some sellers who would otherwise be ready to list are waiting because they fear that if they stand up and sell their home, there won’t be enough “empty chairs,” or housing stock for them to find a replacement.
  • First-time buyers face more hurdles in coming up with a down payment -Rising home prices are benefiting sellers who are gaining more home equity, making it easier for them as repeat buyers to come up with a down payment. Higher home prices are having the opposite effect for first-time buyers.
  • More new housing stock could alleviate some of the inventory crunch – Single-family housing starts are now well below a 50-year average and recent natural disasters are putting an even greater strain on available housing in some areas. An influx of new construction would provide needed inventory.

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