While some national forecasts look ahead rather pessimistically, local experts say real estate sales this year will likely be similar to 2018.
“It’s stable. Not static, but stable,” says RE/MAX Bayshore realtor Bob Brick of the market. “Barring any catastrophe, it should look similar to this year and last year.”
Mike Schmidt, president of Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors, concurs. “I don’t think it will be much different than 2018,” he says.
Nationally the forecast is more mixed. The Wall Street Journal reports that the pace of real estate speculation is slowing, which it calls “a sign of the darkening outlook in the U.S. housing market.” It cites the downturn in the number of new home loans issued with terms of three years or less, which it says are typically used by investors looking to make a quick profit.
The national forecast by the National Association of Realtors is slightly more positive. It says consumers should expect home sales to flatten and home prices to continue to increase, though at a slower pace.
If 2019 mirrors the past couple years, that’s good news, as the last couple years have been strong locally. Though 2018 lags behind 2017, most feel that is due to low inventory levels rather than any change in buying or selling attitudes. And while the number of homes sold is down, the median price is up and the time a property is on the market is down, both pointing to strong demand.
Kim Pontius, executive vice president of the Traverse Area Association of Realtors, says such a leveling off is to be expected. “We’ve had several good years, record years for real estate. I think this is a cooling-off period.”
On the commercial side of things, the attitude is similar: 2018 wasn’t quite as good as 2017, and the lack of inventory could see 2019 also trending in that direction. But if the economy continues to be strong, so should the market. “The volume was a little down,” says Kevin Endres, CEO of Three West. “It’s a short inventory. We have buyers, investors who want to get in, but (owners) don’t want to sell.”