According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing home sales fell 4.9% in January. Sales have not been so low since April of last year.
The United States has added 1 million new jobs over the past 3 months, but the improvement in wages and labor has not had the impact on the housing market for which experts had hoped. Low mortgage rates and job growth were expected to draw buyers back to the home market.
Now, experts are wondering if a spring sale rush will be had or whether United States real estate may be in for a slow 2015. Currently, home inventory is low in the nation, holding at a 4.7 month supply (home inventory is measured in how long the current homes on the market would be expected to last – i.e. 4.7 months). According to experts, a balanced market will have around a 6 month supply of homes.
Limited supply inevitably leads to higher priced homes. Over the past year, home prices in the United States have risen by 6.2 percent. Oftentimes, buyers will try to hold out when supply is low, in the hopes that better options will soon be appearing on the market. Mortgage applications fell 13.2% in January, despite the low interest rates attempts to entice these buyers. Unfortunately, when there is a smaller buyer base, builders are less willing to improve home inventory numbers without the guarantee of finding a buyer, keeping prices high.
The Gallatin Valley has been a micro chasm for these national trends, though the valley’s real estate market is definitely healthier than many US markets and improving quickly. Through the one third way mark of Quarter 1, Gallatin Valley home sales are projected to come in 38 home sales below last year’s first quarter total. However, average sales price has risen by $29,487 dollars since 2014—a large number indeed.
As supply has been limited of late in the area, it is no surprise to see the Gallatin Valley following similar national patterns. Gallatin Valley has struggled with home inventory, but it has struggled due to the area's increasing popularity (as oppose to a lack of buyer demand slowing production). However, construction in the area appears to be growing and healthy while the city has addressed expanding home inventory in both its rental and sales real estate markets. Both should improve the overall availability of homes in Gallatin County and continue the area’s higher paced recovery rate compared to the state and the nation.