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What to expect from the real estate market in 2018


Resales of existing homes are expected to rise modestly in 2018 ... Tulsa, Oklahoma; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Charlotte, North Carolina. She says those places are not as “regulation constrained,” they have strong regional economies and developers ...


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My MarketWatch Watchlist Alerts Games Log In New York Markets After Hours Market Snapshot Winners and Losers Home Personal Finance NerdWallet Get email alerts What to expect from the real estate market in 2018 By Holden Lewis Published: Dec 28, 2017 4:59 a.mET Share .st0{fill:#FFFFFF;} .st1{fill:#E12828;} .st2{fill:#FAEAEA;enable-background:new ;} .st3{fill:#FAD4D4;enable-background:new ;} Watch for these trends in housing and mortgages window.videoDomain = 'https://video-api.wsj.com'; Bloomberg Resales of existing homes are expected to rise modestly in 2018. By HoldenLewis This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWalletThe housing picture is likely to improve in 2018: Home prices are expected to climb, but not as fast More houses could be for sale toward the end of the year, giving home buyers a greater selection to choose from Homeowners will have more equity to borrow from Yet in other ways, 2018 might continue to be challenging, especially for home buyersMortgage rates are likely to rise, reducing affordabilityHere are 10 housing and mortgage trends to expect in 20181Home prices decelerate Good news for first-time home buyers: Home-price appreciation is expected to cool down in 2018 after a torrid couple of yearsHome prices rose 6.3% in 2016, according to the Federal Housing Finance AgencyThey’re on track to exceed 6% in 2017, tooBut for next year, the median forecast among six industry and lender groups is for a 4.1% increase in existing home prices nationwideWhy the slowdown? One factor is home constructionEconomists expect the construction of single-family houses to rise sharply in 2018, based on building permit applicationsThe median estimate has single-family housing starts rising about 8% in 2018, to roughly 912,500 new houses2More homes for sale Home buyers are struggling to find houses for saleThe shortages are especially acute for the kinds of homes that first-time buyers tend to getAmong the reasons for the tight supply: Many baby boomers are content to age in their homes instead of downsizing Investors bought millions of homes after the housing bubble burst, and they’re making too much money as landlords to sell Home builders make more profit from expensive houses than entry-level houses, so that’s what they’re constructing Also see: Why aren’t there enough houses to buy? But there’s some hope for 2018: Realtor.com predicts that the housing supply pinch will begin to ease late in the year“It looks like we could get to a point where we’re seeing growth in inventory sometime in the fall of 2018,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com3Home sales could rise Resales of existing homes are expected to rise modestly in 2018The median estimate is that existing home sales will rise 2.5%, to 5.6 million unitsMeanwhile, sales of new homes are expected to rise a median of 7%, to 653,500 newly built single-family housesAccording to Realtor.com, cities in the South will show the most sales growth in 2018Hale says she expects 6% existing home sales growth, particularly in markets such as Dallas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Charlotte, North CarolinaShe says those places are not as “regulation constrained,” they have strong regional economies and developers have plenty of vacant land to build on4Mortgage rates head up Mortgage rates are expected to rise in 2018CoreLogic, a data provider for the real-estate industry, averaged six forecasts of mortgage rates, arriving at a consensus view that the 30-year fixed will average 4.7% in December 2018In November 2017, the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.07%“Not only are mortgage rates higher, but mortgage rates will be at the highest level since 2011,” Nothaft said at the Urban Institute symposium“So we’re looking at an environment, going forward, where this era of cheap mortgage rates will largely be behind us.” See: Today’s interest rates Interest rates are notoriously resistant to prediction, thoughAt the beginning of 2017, most people expected mortgage rates to rise steadily throughout the yearAnd they did rise — for a few weeksThe average 30-year fixed peaked in mid-March 2017 at 4.58%, according to NerdWallet’s daily surveyThen it declined, dipping slightly below 4% a few times in the summer, before moving upward slightly in the fall5Affordability declines If, as expected, home prices and mortgage rates go up in 2018, homes will be less affordableFor example, if mortgage rates rise to 4.7% toward the end of 2018, and the median price of existing homes rises by 4.1%, then monthly mortgage payments for a typical house would rise substantiallyBut according to an Urban Institute analysis, middle-class families in much of the country still have some financial wiggle room if rates and prices rise in 2018Most home buyers don’t appear to stretch to the limits of affordability, the Urban Institute wrote6More equity, more HELOCs As home values rise, homeowners gain equityAnd banks expect millions of homeowners to borrow against that equityAbout 1.6 million homeowners are predicted to get new home equity lines of credit in 2018, a 16% increase over 2017, according to a recent TransUnion studyThe credit bureau says 67% of homeowners have enough equity to get HELOCs, and 80% of those borrowers have high credit scores Don’t miss: These are the hottest real-estate markets in the U.S TransUnion forecasts that 10 million homeowners will get HELOCs from 2018 through 2022, double the number of new lines of credit in the five years before that7Security headaches continue Thieves are stealing down payments from home buyers by combining email hacking with wire fraudAnd there’s no sign of it slowingComplaints of this type of wire fraud skyrocketed by 480% in 2016, according to the 2016 annual report (the latest available) from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint CenterLenders and title companies say the problem worsened in 2017, and that they fend off this form of fraud constantlyThe best way to avoid becoming a victim: When you receive emailed instructions for wiring money, call your agent to verifyThe email may be a fake, designed to trick you into wiring money into a thief’s account8More options for people with credit issues A few specialty lenders are focusing on nontraditional mortgagesFor example, Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions in Atlanta targets the borrower “who has had a life event, so they lost their house or had to file bankruptcy or things got really bad, but they’ve now got their feet back on the ground and they’re ready to buy their next house,” says Tom Hutchens, the lender’s senior vice president of sales and marketingSeveral lenders offer interest-only mortgages, and even loans with limited income documentationThese mortgages are dubbed “non-QM” because they don’t meet Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s plain-vanilla “qualified mortgage” rulesOne prominent non-QM lender, Impac Mortgage Holdings, plans to begin securitizing these loans early in 20189Lenders embracing automation Mortgage lenders continue to pour money into automating the loan-application processThe best-known example is Rocket Mortgage by Quicken LoansBut Quicken isn’t the only lender that embraces automationSome lenders, such as loanDepot, cook up their own automation in-house, while software providers such as Blend and Roostify help large and small banks to automate applicationsNow a few lenders want to use automation to guide borrowers to loan products that best suit them10Tax reform affects buyers and owners Tax reform preserves the old capital gains exclusion, but the mortgage interest tax deduction is treated differentlyEffective next year, the new law reduces the maximum amount of mortgage debt to acquire a first or second residence for which you can claim itemized interest expense deductions from $1 million (or $500,000 if you use married filing separate status) to $750,000 (or $375,000 if you use married filing separate status)The new tax law limits your deduction for state and local income and property taxes to a combined total of $10,000 ($5,000 if you use married filing separate status) More from NerdWallet Why aren’t enough homes for sale? Here are 6 reasons Know your credit score? See how it affects your ability to buy a home What home equity is (and why it matters) Holden Lewis is a writer at NerdWalletEmail: hlewis@nerdwallet.comTwitter: @HoldenL var SA = SA || []; SA.push({ container: "#sa_calc_143057", version: 1.1, data: { key: "npqzoaaw8ttdneqrelpmx2gdnehdyiog" } }); var smscript = document.createElement('script'); smscript.type = 'text/javascript'; smscript.async = true; smscript.src = 'https://smartasset.com/snippet.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(smscript, s); MarketWatch Partner Center Most Popular How to potentially get a 30% return in three months with the ‘January Effect’ Will the bull market for stocks finally end in 2018? 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