California housing markets have shifted since the summer. The question is, “What comes next?” Compass/Pacific Union economist Selma Hepp and John Burns Real Estate Consulting has forecast the next three years.
Online buyer behavior suggests that sales will decline in the West Coast markets with California home sales expected to post a 2% to 7% percent decline over the next six months. Some of the downward pressure can be attributed to interest-rate hikes following strong price growth over the last year which took a large bite out of affordability, making it the biggest concern for California housing markets.
Average annual price growth in six California metropolitan areas is projected at 6% in 2019 and 3% in 2020 before declining by 0.3% in 2021.
Additionally, mortgage rates rose by 88 basis points this year, from 3.95% in January to 4.83% in October, resulting in at least an 11% increase in payments without accounting for price appreciation. Note that each 100-basis-point increase in mortgage rates reduces a borrowers' purchasing power by about 7%.
With price appreciation, Californians' monthly mortgage payments are up by as much as 25% year over year: Silicon Valley, up by 25%, San Francisco, up by 19%, The East Bay, up by 17%, and Los Angeles, up by 14%. This reflects the median new home prices, in Los Angeles, the price is $682,000, while in the Northern California, prices range from about $760,000 in Sonoma County to $1 million in Silicon Valley.
Looking forward, mortgage rates will likely reach 5.5 percent by the middle of 2019, leading to fewer home sales. Because of affordability pressure, the LA market is projected to see notably slower price growth over the next three years.
Value growth projections over the next three years compared to 2018, which showed a 7.1% rate of growth. That rate is expected to fall to 4.9% in 2019, followed by 3.9% in 2020 and finally a mere 0.8% in 2021.
The bottom line, homebuyers and investors should proceed with caution but proceed nevertheless.
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