According to the NAR (National Assn. of Realtors) the (PHSI Pending Home Sales Index), based on contract signings, rose 1.2% in November 2019. Year-over-year contract signings jumped 7.4%. However, existing-home sales fell in November, taking a small step back after October’s gains. Home inventory was lower than needed, which has been in decline since June 2019.

Favorable conditions are expected throughout 2020, but supply is not meeting demand, according to NAR. Overall, the association forecasts 2.0% GDP (gross domestic product) growth, a 3.7% unemployment rate and a 3.8% average mortgage rate in 2020. Home prices are projected to rise by 3.6% in 2020 after a 5% gain in 2019.

Total existing home sales—completed transactions including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops—decreased 1.7% from October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million in November. However, sales were up 2.7% from a year ago (5.21 million in November 2018). The median existing home price for all housing types was $271,300, up 5.4% from November 2018 ($257,400), as prices rose in all regions. November’s price increase marks 93 straight months of year-over-year gains.

Compared to one year ago, fewer homes were sold below $250,000; with a 16% decline for homes priced below $100,000 and a 4% reduction for homes priced from $100,000 to below $250,000.

The metro areas that NAR expects to outperform in terms of demand and price appreciation are: Charleston S.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Fort Collins, Colo.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Ogden, Utah; Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.; and Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage increased to 3.70% in November, up from 3.69% in October. The average commitment rate across all of 2018 was 4.54%.

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