Existing-home sales will end 2018 at around 5.6 million, a 1.8 percent increase from 2017, and will rise to 5.7 million in 2019, according to a forecast from Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR)
Speaking at the trade group’s 2018 Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo, said the numbers would be more robust if housing inventory had not been so anemic. Yun noted total housing inventory reached 1.67 million existing-homes available for sale at the end of the first quarter, which is 7.2 percent lower than a year ago (1.80 million). Inventory has trending lower for the last five years and shows no immediate signs of upward motion.
“Challenging affordability conditions have prevented a meaningful rise in the homeownership rate after having fallen to a 50-year low a few years ago,” said Yun. “To increase homeownership, more home construction is needed, which could be boosted by delivering regulatory relief to community banks, removing the lumber tariff, re-examining stringent zoning laws and training more workers for the construction industry.”