Affordability — or, more precisely, a lack thereof — will have a major influence on the US housing market next year, Zillow predicts.
The increasing cost of housing will impact where (and when) first-time buyers decide to purchase a home, said the online real estate database firm in its housing market predictions earlier this week.
Priced out of the city centers and nearby areas, consumers will set their sights on suburbs in search of affordable homes. But these won’t necessarily be like the ‘burbs their parents may have settled down in.
Zillow forecasts the rise in popularity of “suburbs that feel like walkable, amenity-rich mini-cities.” That is, for those first-time buyers who are ready to make a downpayment on a place of their own.
The median US rent, which Zillow expects to break records in 2016, is symptomatic of a broader trend that will keep some potential buyers from purchasing a home. Rents will continue to climb, resulting in some young tenants putting off buying a home.
“As renters gradually transition into homeowners, the historically low homeownership rate should stop falling quite as quickly as it has been,” said Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s chief economist, in a statement.
“However, the median age of first-time homebuyers — already the highest it has ever been at about 33 — will climb higher. Millennials want to buy, but they are waiting longer than previous generations.”
A recent TD Economics report says student-debt levels are partly behind this delay.
First-time buyers and Millennials won’t be the only ones unable to afford a home. Zillow says home values will rise faster than incomes and that this trend will be especially noticeable with low-income Americans.
In its recent Home Price Expectations Survey of over a hundred economic and housing experts, Zillow says the median forecast for home-value increases next year was about 3.5 percent.
“In 2016, those whose incomes fall in the bottom third of all incomes will be priced out of homeownership and unable to afford even the least expensive homes on the market,” according to Zillow.
At the same time, Gudell says mortgage interest rates will slowly rise. “That will make some homeowners think twice about selling, and many of them will decide to remodel their current homes instead.”