The beginning of 2019 marks our annual, greater Phoenix real estate busy season. For 2019 we start the new year with one of the lowest available resale inventories in a long time, and the last two weeks of December 2018 showed an even more marked drop in buying and listing activity.
The supply of active listings without a contract rose 3.4% during the month of November, while total active listings increased by 2.0%. These increases are in contrast to this time last year when we saw decreases of 1.2% and 1.7%, respectively. Just like last month, there has been a definite improvement in available supply.
Despite recent market volatility, mortgage rates remained steady this week. The stability in mortgage rates reflects the moderation in inflationary pressures in the economy due to lower oil prices and subdued wage growth. On the margin, lower energy costs are a positive for the home sales market, particularly for lower-middle income suburban buyers who spend proportionately more income on transportation costs.
The residential real estate market has continued to slow gradually, due mostly to rising interest rates and prices. All activity, including “declining listings under contract”, “increasing days on market”, and a generally more discerning buyer, is the result of our market continuing to move toward a better balance between buyer and seller.
Let’s talk about interest rates. This week, Freddie Mac reports that interest rates for 30-year home loans rose to 4.9%. That is up .19% from just last week.