In 2019 home prices were up again in most markets. Buyer demand continues to be strong but with tepid seller activity still in many locations, total sales are lower than they would normally be in a more balanced market. While up from their recent lows a few months ago, mortgage rates end the year close to three-quarters of a percent lower than a year ago, helping to improve affordability and offset rising home prices.
New listings increased five percent for residential homes and 22.5 percent for townhouse/condo homes. Pending sales decreased 5.6 percent for residential homes and 15.3 percent for townhouse/condo homes. Inventory decreased 21.9 percent for residential homes and 9.4 percent for townhouse/condo homes.
Median sales price increased 11 percent to $205,700 for residential homes and 9.3 percent to $167,300 for townhouse/condo homes. Days on market remained flat for residential homes but increased 14.6 percent for townhouse/condo properties. Months supply of inventory decreased 20.0 percent for residential homes and 9.7 percent for townhouse/condo homes.
With low mortgage rates, low unemployment, and continued wage growth, home buyer activity is expected to remain healthy into the new year. New construction has been on the rise in 2019 and is expected to continue into 2020, but many experts note that the country is still not building enough new units to quench demand. It remains to be seen whether existing homeowners will be enticed to sell by higher home prices, which could finally bring the overall housing market into greater balance.