Rock-bottom Interest Rates, More Homes for Sale Send Housing Market off to an Early, Roaring Start

by Real estate financingMission+
3 minutes read

If you’re like many buyers, you’ve kicked off 2015 by restarting your home search in full force. Our data on tours and offers in the first few weeks of the year shows a huge jump in buyers searching for affordable homes.
Rock-bottom interest rates and easier lending conditions are giving us flashbacks to 2013, another year marked by high buyer demand. A Redfin agent in Seattle, Klaus Gosma, hosted an open house for an average townhome that was flooded with 132 people last weekend. In Denver, a house got 23 offers in one, snowy day. Redfin’s free home buying classes are getting record numbers of attendees across the country.
Though demand is high, home prices are exhibiting a more stable and sustainable growth rate than we’ve seen in the past three years. January median sales prices increased 7.6 percent from this time last year, much slower than the 15.4 percent increase we saw from 2013 to 2014.

January 2015 Housing Market

Every market has its own housing persona, but there are four common trends framing the beginning of the 2015 home-buying season:

Record-setting buyer demand

  • Redfin home-tour demand hit an all-time record the week of January 12, with the number of customers requesting tours up 62 percent and signed offers up 58 percent year over year.
  • That week also saw the highest rate of first-timers touring that Redfin has seen since the end of 2012.

More inventory

  • December saw a 9.5 percent increase in new listings, more than any other December since 2008.

Easier lending conditions

Rock bottom interest rates

  • Mortgage rates continue to reach new lows in 2015. Rates for 30 year-fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.63 percent currently, compared with 4.5 percent at this time last year.

Although there are more homes for sale overall, in a few metro areas, like Dallas, Denver and San Jose, inventory is still critically low. In the hottest neighborhoods, the lack of listings paired with high demand will put upward pressure on prices.
Check out our latest housing market research here. And if you have your own take on the 2015 housing market, leave a comment below.


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