Could the Hot Housing Market Have Hit a Tipping Point?

Off the Charts: the Visual Says it All

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If there’s a silver lining to the sharp uptick in mortgage rates, it might be the beginning of some balance in the residential real estate market, a new poll suggests.

That’s because for the first time in over a year, more people surveyed by Morning Consult planned to sell than buy a home in the next 12 months. 

As the chart below shows, until February, prospective homebuyers outnumbered prospective sellers every month since the polling company first asked the question in January 2021, though by varying margins depending on the month. Then last month, 14.1% said they planned to sell and 14% said they planned to buy. It’s a tiny but noticeable role reversal, but could potentially represent a turning point in what has so far been an extreme seller’s market marked by record low numbers of homes for sale, said Kayla Bruun, an economic analyst at Morning Consult.

“Demand is starting to weaken relative to supply,” Bruun said. “Rising interest rates have started to put a little more pressure on sellers to want to sell and lock in the price gains that we've already seen in the housing market, whereas buyers are potentially facing affordability issues.”

If the pattern continues, it could be quite a change in the pandemic era, when high demand for homes has run headfirst into short supply, driving prices up to record highs. As the uptick in mortgage rates lowers the affordability of buying a home, prices may begin to cool off, Bruun said, creating an urgency to sell before the pendulum swings too far the other way. The volume of mortgage applications from homebuyers fell for the first time in three weeks last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday.

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  1. Morning Consult. "Consumer Spending Report."

  2. Mortgage Bankers Association. "Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest MBA Weekly Survey."

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