Due to Covid-19, we have seen a decrease in construction materials, so we don’t see a lot of new construction to keep up with the 2021 demand for homes. Although we will see some distressed homes come on the market from those people in forbearance or who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19, the demand will be there to absorb additional homes in most markets.
While 2021 will see home builders responding to higher prices, supply and inventory will still be limited. Fed policy will enable lower mortgage rates for highly creditworthy borrowers, while inflation may begin to emerge. Finally, the Millennial generation will continue to be the defining demographic group in the housing market for years to come.
We expect to see the housing market continue its bull run well into 2021. Home value appreciation will approach 9% or even 10% by July, before cooling somewhat down toward 7% appreciation. This rapid price growth will be driven by the same factors that took the steering wheel in 2020: strong demographics, low mortgage rates, and inadequate supply.
The Millennial generation is moving into their mid-30s, bringing a wave of demand from renters looking to buy their first homes. Mortgage rates may inch back up to around 3%, but even at that level, they will be making home purchases more attractive all along the price range. And although builders are finally firing on all cylinders delivering new homes to the market, it will take them a long time to make up for the home building deficit we accumulated from 2008 to 2019.
The clearest barometer we have that reflects all these dimensions of the housing market is active inventory, which is down more than one third year-over-year. That suggests continued fast price appreciation ahead and competition between buyers.