Realtor.com Predicts Whirlwind Year Ahead for Buyers

Home For Sale With Real Estate Sign.
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Americans will have a better chance to find a home in 2022, but will face a competitive seller’s market as first-time buyer demand outmatches the inventory recovery, according to the Realtor.com 2022 Housing Forecast. Additionally, with listing prices, rents and mortgage rates all expected to climb while incomes rise, 2022 will present a mixed bag of housing affordability challenges and opportunities.

“Whether the pandemic delayed plans or created new opportunities to make a move, Americans are poised for a whirlwind year of home buying in 2022. With more sellers expected to enter the market as buyer competition remains fierce, we anticipate strong home sales growth at a more sustainable pace than in 2021,” said Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “Affordability will increasingly be a challenge as interest rates and prices rise, but remote work may expand search areas and enable younger buyers to find their first homes sooner than they might have otherwise. And with more than 45 million millennials within the prime first-time buying ages of 26-35 heading into 2022, we expect the market to remain competitive.”

Realtor.com forecasts 2022 home sales (+6.6% year-over-year) will hit their highest level in 16 years as buyers remain active and for-sale inventory begins to recover from recent steep declines. 2022 buyers will face a competitive seller’s market, with record-high listing prices, fast-paced sales and limited for-sale home options as existing-home listings continue to lag behind pre-COVID levels. The new construction supply gap of 5.2 million new homes may shrink somewhat in 2022 as builders continue to ramp up production with a projected increase of 5% year-over-year. 

With prospective sellers planning to increasingly enter the market this winter, Americans can look forward to more opportunities to make a successful home purchase. Affordability will be a growing consideration as mortgage rates and home prices rise, but a growing economy, strong employment market and workplace flexibility will enable more home shoppers to successfully buy their first homes without breaking their budgets. Additionally, with rents forecasted to grow at a faster annual pace (+7.1%) than for-sale home prices (+2.9%) in 2022, homebuying may become the more affordable option, when compared to renting, in many markets. Despite the challenging market, the homeownership rate is expected to grow slightly in 2022 (65.8%). 

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