The Cromford Market Index stayed fairly level through most of December and the first half of January but has started to drift a bit lower. Here is the short term chart:
Although the index is still above 130, it is losing a bit of altitude because:
- active listing counts are rising
- new listings have started to arrive slightly faster than they did in January 2018
- active listings are going under contract a little slower than usual
- closing rates are still a little slower than usual for what is usually a very slow month
- pending, UCB and CCBS listings are growing from a very low level, but not at a particularly impressive rate
Most agents, sellers and developers were probably hoping for a better reaction to 30-year fixed interest rates moving back down to about 4.65% from the 4.85% level. From the evidence so far, demand has not emerged from the doldrums that started last September.
The changes are not enormous but the market is slowly moving in favor of buyers. It still has a long way to go before we can truly describe it as a buyer’s market. What happens immediately after the Super Bowl will be crucial, because in a strong year, this is when we see contract activity pick up dramatically.
In the past, government shutdowns have coincided with a marked loss of demand, but they have tended to be brief affairs.