Welcome to our comprehensive update on everything you need to know about the real estate market in 2024. Let’s dive right in!
The first thing I want to mention is that when we’re talking about “The” housing market we’re usually referring to the national market. There are 3,143 counties and 387 Metropolitan Statistical Areas or MSAs in the US. An MSA is a geographic entity based on a county or a group of counties. It must have at least one urbanized area with a population of at least 50,000. Adjacent counties must have economic ties to the central area.
So while it’s convenient to look at the nation as a whole, you need to know what’s going on in in your area of interest. You want to look at economic factors as well as things like migration and job growth. You go top down starting with the market then drill down to the neighborhood and specific property.
And, of course, all this depends on your strategy. You can and should have different strategies for different markets. You might do flips here in Denver but own rentals in Ohio, and invest in a multifamily syndication in Dallas, for example. I also want to point out that there are no certainties when it comes to predicting what the market will do, only probabilities. Let’s look at the contributing factors.
Supply and Demand Dynamics
One of the fundamental drivers of the housing market is the interplay between supply and demand. The availability of housing inventory and the willingness of buyers to make purchases are crucial factors. They influence property prices and market activity. Supply high and demand low means prices go down. Supply low and demand high, prices go up.
Many regions have experienced a shortage in housing supply, which has been a significant driver of price increases in recent years. In 2024, if construction activity picks up to address this imbalance, we might see a more stable increase in housing prices, rather than the sharp spikes observed in previous years.
Interest Rates and Inflation
The FED has raised interest rates 11 times since March 2022 and the single-family housing market hasn’t crashed. This shows us how resilient the housing market is. The cost of borrowing affects a buyer’s ability to purchase a home. So, it affects the demand for housing. Higher interest rates for an extended period will dampen demand as well as the supply of homes coming to the market due to the ‘lock-in’ effect.
Inflation can have a dual effect. It can erode the real value of mortgage debt over time, which is beneficial for existing homeowners. But it also increases the cost of construction and home maintenance, pushing up new home prices.
In 2024, these dynamics are particularly complex due to the global economic landscape. Post-pandemic recovery patterns and geopolitical tensions influence the housing market, resulting in volatility. Because it’s an election year, we might see a small rate drop. But if inflation persists, we could see interest rates go up.
In addition to macroeconomic factors, the housing market has long struggled with chronic unaffordability. This issue is not new and has persisted for some time. To put it into perspective other countries like Canada, Switzerland, and New Zealand have seen home prices surge relative to per capita income.
Addressing this affordability crisis is essential for a sustainable housing market. Instead of resorting to demand destruction, focusing on increasing housing supply is a more effective solution. Stimulating supply growth can help alleviate affordability concerns and create a healthier market.
Despite potential increases in supply, affordability will remain a key issue, particularly in major urban centers. Rising costs of living and potential stagnation in wage growth could limit the ability of new buyers to enter the market.
Housing Supply Challenges
One of the primary challenges in increasing housing supply is the availability of land and resources for construction. Profit margins for home builders have played a crucial role in maintaining the momentum of single-family permits and construction activity. These profit margins have allowed builders to keep building, helping meet the demand for new homes.
However, the pace of supply growth has not been sufficient to keep up with demand. Increased rates and labor shortages make it hard for builders to justify building more. Bank finance hesitations on larger projects and supply cost issues are also contributing. Many of them have been taking a haircut in 2023. Builders needed to give 6-10 points in buyer concessions to pay down interest rates, to sell the houses they had in their inventory.
The economic growth in 2024 will be limited. Fiscal policy will contract further. Savings rates will stop falling. Bank lending and the money supply will continue to contract. Households and businesses have shown they are not sensitive to interest rate changes. This is true even when rates are high. This means the expected rate cuts may not stimulate the economy as much as hoped.
The 10-year yield is a significant indicator that influences housing market dynamics. When the 10-year yield rises, it weakens housing demand. Conversely, when it falls, it strengthens demand. Therefore, keeping a close eye on the 10-year yield is crucial for predicting market shifts.
Increased awareness and regulations around environmental sustainability will play a more significant role in the housing market. Properties with green features or those located in areas less prone to climate-related risks might see higher demand.
The persistent demand for housing, driven by population growth and urbanization, presents a significant opportunity for builders. Meeting this demand through innovative construction methods, materials, and sustainable practices can address housing shortages. It can also contribute to a more environmentally friendly housing sector.
Affordable housing initiatives and government incentives can create opportunities for investors to participate in projects that align with social and economic goals. By focusing on affordable housing solutions, developers and investors can positively contribute to their communities. They can also tap into government support and incentives. This facilitates housing projects for low and middle-income individuals and families.
For investors, the focus might shift towards emerging markets or secondary cities where the growth potential is higher. Additionally, there could be increased interest in alternative housing investments, like multifamily, mobile home parks, or properties in areas with high rental demand. By recognizing these opportunities and staying adaptable, the housing market in 2024 has the potential for both growth and positive societal impact.
To navigate the challenges and opportunities in the housing market for 2024, it is essential to remain informed and look ahead. The housing market is influenced by a multitude of factors, from supply and demand dynamics to interest rates and inflation. Understanding the interplay between these elements is crucial for making informed decisions in the real estate sector.
While challenges like chronic unaffordability and supply constraints persist, there are opportunities for growth and sustainability. Focusing on increasing housing supply can help industry stakeholders navigate the complexities of the housing market in the coming year. Staying vigilant about economic indicators can also help. Real estate professionals can adapt to changing market conditions and make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead by staying informed and proactive.
Despite rate hikes and uncertainty in most markets, supply and demand continue to dictate that many single-family home markets will continue to rise in value in 2024. But not in all markets. So do your research. Whether they continue to rise depends on how messed up the banks get. 1.2 Trillion dollars of commercial debt is coming due, along with our inverted yield curve. Either way, 2024 is safe for now, but that’s just my educated guess.