Sluggish Intro to 2023
Unlike the insane, incredible hot starts to 2021 and 2022, this year’s start is much different with very little demand, a muted inventory, and pre-pandemic market times.
Bears do not wake up from hibernation energetic and raring to go. Instead, they are groggy and dazed for two to three weeks and it takes a while for their metabolism to kick in again. That is how housing normally starts after the holidays have finally passed. It takes a few weeks in January for buyers and potential sellers to shake off the holiday fog after enjoying the festive season that is chalk full of so many wonderful distractions. This is when the housing market slowly awakens and starts to thaw. It is coming out of hibernation and will be quite sluggish to start the New Year.
The issue is that housing has not had a normal, slow start to the year since 2020. In both 2021 and 2022, the market was insanely hot from day one, plagued with very few homes available and insatiable demand due to an extremely low mortgage rate environment. Buyers were tripping over each other to purchase every single home that came on the market, multiple offers were the norm, homes sold way above their asking prices, and the housing market felt like an out of control train where it was very challenging for buyers to secure a home.
In looking at the details, the about face in housing is due to sky high mortgage rates coupled with a tremendous run-up in home values. In both 2021 and 2022, mortgage rates experienced back-to-back record low starts to the year at 2.65% and 3.22%. Today’s 6.14% is the highest start to a year since January 2008. As a result, demand, a snapshot of the last 30 days of pending sales activity, is at its lowest level to begin a year since tracking began in 2004 at 900 pending sales. It is slightly lower than demand level in 2008.
Excerpt taken from an article by Steven Thomas.