Real estate appreciation will reach its fastest pace since the Great Recession as the inventory crisis continues to pit buyers against each other, competing for a scarce number of properties for sale. We assume that the appreciation of house prices in points will exceed 10% in 2021. Price gains are driven by the fundamentals of supply and demand: fear and uncertainty affect many potential sellers, accumulated new home construction has been low over the past decade, and limited supply is met by an increase in demand due to aging millennials and a wave of other buyers re-evaluating their housing needs. The pandemic may have sped that move for some buyers, but that doesn’t mean a vaccine would reverse the trend.
Mortgage payments have become more affordable for homeowners in the past two years thanks to extremely low mortgage rates. However, we expect rapid price growth and slightly higher mortgage rates to reverse this trend in 2021. The expectation of rising economic growth and rebounding inflation in a vaccinated global economy is already helping to push ten-year government bond yields out of the doldrums and mortgages, and rates are likely to follow if this trend continues. Slightly higher rates would make the ownership case a little less convincing to some buyers, but in most countries it will still be true that home ownership is an attractive financial bargain compared to renting. Don’t expect a few basis points more for 30-year mortgage rates to stall demand, but it can cause some buyers who are already struggling to get up the ladder of home ownership to be priced out – especially first-time buyers, who don’t. They do not have access to funds from the sale of their current home.
expects a perfect storm in market conditions to create the hottest spring shopping season in recent times, with sales swift and often above list price. It is likely that the spread of COVID-19 vaccines in the US will be in full swing by spring, and the local economy and schools should just reopen. Many will also have more confidence that their jobs will be done remotely in the long term, bringing in buyers who have been waiting for it to be done. Add to this expectations that mortgage rates will rise later in the year and we could see buyers frenzy as they try to keep interest rates as low as possible.