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January 2019 Housing Market

Posted Monday, February 11, 2019

As 2019 gets underway, the nation's real estate market may still have a hangover from 2018. According to most economists who focus on the housing market, 15% of U.S. homes listed for sale in January experienced a price cut. While this may sound alarming, most experts view it as simply the market undergoing a standard correction, since 2018 saw a rapid acceleration in pricing and listings. 

While the market may be slowing, the key to remember is the past four years have seen the U.S. housing market experience sharp declines in inventory, creating record-low levels of homes available for sale. According to MLS statistics, 39 of the nation's 50 largest housing markets experienced price cuts on houses in January, with Las Vegas leading the way with 16% of the city's homes listed for sale being reduced in price. 

According to experts, the factor that will most likely get the market back to normal in regards to pricing and property availability is entry-level homes, which are still in extremely short supply. However, this can work to the advantage of real estate agents and investors. For real estate agents, sellers wanting to enter the market may be able to do so and find plenty of willing buyers, since inventory levels are so low. For investors, price reductions in properties will allow them to purchase homes at lower than normal prices, enabling them to make even greater profits. 

Due to these current market conditions, it is an excellent time for agents to get referral leads, with more and more buyers entering the market to find their perfect home. As a result, January 2019 saw homes stay on the market for an average of 87 days, which was two days less than in January 2018. And with the current low availability of entry-level homes, median listing prices for U.S. homes in January grew by 7% to an average of $289,300, thanks largely to West Coast markets where more and more higher-priced homes are entering the market. 

According to MLS, agents seeking referral leads in such states as California and Washington will have plenty of prospects, as inventory growth in these and other nearby states is accelerating rapidly in 2019, especially in such cities as San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle. Based on MLS data, homes in these markets priced at $750,000 or higher increased in availability by 12% in January 2019 over last January. Likewise, inventories of homes priced at $200,000 or less also increased, but at a slower rate of only 6%. 

Overall, while the January 2019 housing market is filled with ups and downs across the nation, experts agree both buyers and sellers can still greatly benefit from current and future trends.