The average 30-year mortgage rate hit a 23-year high in September, closing the month at 7.31%. The current high mortgage rates are negatively affecting affordability, making it incredibly hard not to compare mortgage rates and prices to those of the past few years — because the comparison is so stark. In 2020 and 2021, 30-year mortgage rates were the lowest in history at an average of 3.11% and 2.96%, respectively. Low rates priced buyers into the market, which drastically grew demand in a market with fairly static short-term supply. Competition among buyers rose sharply, increasing prices at the fastest rate ever. The Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index rose 41% from June 2020 to June 2022. Meanwhile, inventory plummeted, creating an even larger supply issue than the already undersupplied U.S. market. Although home prices contracted in the second half of 2022, as the Fed began hiking rates, they bounced back in the first half of 2023 and are now only 1.6% below the all-time high. Once we couple the median price with the average 30-year mortgage rate, we can see the actual monthly cost rather than just the price. Only 27% of homes were purchased with cash in August, a good portion of which were likely bought by homeowners selling their home and using the proceeds to buy another. Most buyers, however, are financing the purchase of their homes in some capacity and are, therefore, affected by the high mortgage rates. To put the change into perspective, the median home financed in August 2023 cost 15% more on a monthly basis than the median home financed in June 2022 — the all-time high price — because rates are 1.8% higher.
As you’ve likely already noticed, our current market involves an interesting dynamic of low supply and demand, but high prices and cost of financing. A lot of this has to do with (potential) seller mentality. Approximately 75% of U.S. homeowners have mortgage rates of less than 4%, according to JPMorgan, which has kept potential sellers from entering the market because they either stay in their home or keep their home as a rental property when they move. As a result, new listings remain significantly depressed. When we compare the first three quarters of 2022 and 2023 with the average from the first three quarters of 2017 to 2021, new listings are below average by about 1.5 million homes. The National Association of Realtors reported that the number of homes sold dropped 0.74% month over month and 15.3% year over year, which is less surprising considering that there are far fewer homes from which to choose. That being said, people move for all sorts of reasons, and supply has declined further than demand, which has helped prices stay high. Homebuilders are also affected by higher rates when it comes to construction loans, so homebuilder sentiment is in decline, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. We will likely see fewer and fewer new homes built until rates come down, negatively affecting supply.
Different regions and individual houses vary from the broad national trends, so we’ve included a Local Lowdown below to provide you with in-depth coverage for your area. In general, higher-priced regions (the West and Northeast) have been hit harder by mortgage rate hikes than less expensive markets (the South and Midwest) because of the absolute dollar cost of the rate hikes and limited ability to build new homes. As always, we will continue to monitor the housing and economic markets to best guide you in buying or selling your home.
Big Story Data
The Local Lowdown — Miami-Dade, Broward, and Orange Counties
The median Broward County single-family home price hit an all-time high in September, along with condos in Orange County. Prices in every market are still near all-time highs and we expect prices to remain fairly stable in the fourth quarter.
Active listings in the selected Florida markets have declined over the past 12 months for single-family homes. Condos inventory has been more mixed, with a low, but fairly stable, supply of condos in Miami-Dade over the past 16 months, while Broward and Orange inventory has increased significantly since the start of 2022.
Months of Supply Inventory rose in September as sales slowed and days on market increased. It’s common for the market to trend toward balance in the fall and winter, when fewer buyers are in the market. Single-family home MSI still indicates a sellers’ market in Florida.
Note: You can find the charts/graphs for the Local Lowdown at the end of this section.
Prices hit all-time highs for single-family homes in Broward County and Orange County condos
In Florida, the price of housing is sticky — even reaching all-time highs during a period of rapidly rising mortgage rates. Year over year, the median single-family home and condo prices are up across the selected Florida markets, with the exception of Broward County condos, which are down 1%. The median single-family home price in Broward County hit a record high in September, as did condos in Orange County. The sustained downward inventory trend and low number of new listings will create price support in the slower fall and winter seasons. New price peaks are rare in the fall and winter, but if any market in the country can do it, it’s in Florida.
Typically, demand begins to decline in the fall and bottoms out in January, so the consistently low supply should be less of an issue. With mortgage rates at a 23-year high, quality listings are going to have the most competition. This isn’t unusual, but potential homebuyers aren’t nearly as willing to pay a premium for a fixer upper as they were in 2020 and 2021.
Inventory continues 12-month downward trend across most of the selected markets
Single-family home inventory has trended lower over the past 12 months in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, which is far from the seasonal norm, while condo inventory grew in Broward and Orange. Typically, inventory peaks in July or August and declines through December or January. Even though demand is softening due to higher interest rates and normal seasonality, inventory is so low that any amount of new listings is good for the market. Comparing new listings from January through September 2023 to the same time period in 2022, new listings are down 18%, which has directly impacted both inventory and sales. The number of home sales is, in part, a function of the number of active listings and new listings coming to market. Sales are down 11% year over year.
Even as demand slows, sellers are maintaining more negotiating power than at the start of the year. In September 2023, the average seller received 2-3% more of their listed price as compared to January. That being said, the average buyer is paying 92-95% of list price, so both buyers and sellers should expect the sale price to be less than the list price in most cases.
Months of Supply Inventory for single-family homes continues to indicate a sellers’ market
Months of Supply Inventory (MSI) quantifies the supply/demand relationship by measuring how many months it would take for all current homes listed on the market to sell at the current rate of sales. The long-term average MSI is around four to five months in Florida, which indicates a balanced market. An MSI lower than four indicates that there are more buyers than sellers on the market (meaning it’s a sellers’ market), while an MSI higher than five indicates there are more sellers than buyers (meaning it’s a buyers’ market). MSI fell significantly in the first quarter, then gently trended up in the second and third quarters of 2023. MSI for single-family homes still suggests a sellers’ market in all the selected markets, although Miami-Dade is nearing balance. For condos, MSIs indicate that Orange is still in a sellers’ market, Broward is balanced, and Miami-Dade is in a buyers’ market.