By ALEX VEIGA, AP Business Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The housing market’s decline after its high-flying days earlier this year is deepening, with July home sales falling for the sixth consecutive month.
Significantly higher mortgage rates, runaway inflation and prices that remain near historic highs are making homes less affordable. Sales fell 20.2% from July last year, hitting the slowest pace since May 2020, near the start of the pandemic.
But the downturn has started to tip the home-buying equation, albeit ever so slightly, in favor of home hunters who can afford to stay in the market and away from sellers, who had previously been able to offload their homes at prices they may never have dreamed of.
Homes still sell very quickly, on average, and many continue to receive multiple offers. But many sellers have had to become more flexible about their asking price and find they can no longer require potential buyers to give up important guarantees like a home inspection before closing the deal.
The change doesn’t mean it’s now a buyer’s market – it will take a big increase in the number of homes on the market before that happens. Still, it’s a notable reversal after a housing shortage, rock-bottom mortgage rates and soaring house prices have skewed the housing market heavily in favor of sellers in recent years.
“We know that homes take longer to sell, that sellers have to price more carefully, and have to adapt if they’re not priced competitively,” said Danielle Hale, an economics economist. leader for real estate agent.com. “So it’s moving in a buyer-friendly direction, but I’m not sure it’s quite there yet.”
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