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First Half of 2018 Louisville Market Review

The first half of the 2018 Louisville real estate market was marked by home prices continuing to rise faster than a porch thermometer on a sweltering July afternoon. From January 1 through June 30, the average sale price across the Louisville market was up 5.8% to $217,101 (from $205,194 for the same period in 2017). The median price was $177,500 vs. $169,900 a year ago. For the month of June, that average sale price was a staggering $237,458 (five years ago in June 2013 the average sale price was $195,411).

Rising home prices continue to be driven by a shortage of inventory. For the entire Louisville MLS (multiple listing service), the inventory of available properties was 7% lower than for the first half of 2017. The total number of homes sold from January 1 through June 30, 2018 was 8,516 vs. 8,706 or 2.2% less than the same period in 2017. The inventory situation may be improving slightly according to the industry association the Greater Louisville Association of Realtors (GLAR). 

Interest rates have risen modestly and mortgage rates have followed suit with a recent 30-year fixed rate at approximately 4.5% according to Bankrate.com (this compares to about 4% for this time in 2017). Most analysts expect rates to continue to rise gradually through at least the end of 2019.

In its mid-year market analysis, GLAR reported more than 4,000 properties for sale at present compared to 3,000 just a few months ago. As has been the case for the last few years, move-in ready homes under $250,000 continue to set the pace and are selling quickly, often in multiple offer situations.

The high-end market also continues to be robust with 347 sales of properties between $500,000 and $999,999 in 2018 vs. 320 for the same period in 2017. Sales of properties priced at $1 million plus also showed limited growth with 41 sales in 2018 vs. 37 in 2017.

The question on most consumers’ minds seems to be: How long can this bull real estate market...

What To Expect From The Louisville Housing Market in 2016

Economist John Kenneth Galbraith once quipped, “There are two kinds of forecasters: those who don’t know, and those who don’t know they don’t know.” Keeping this in mind, it is with a sufficient dose of humility that we offer a few thoughts on factors that may impact the Louisville residential housing market next year.

  • Because of an ongoing lack of inventory it will likely continue to be a seller’s market in 2016. Absorption rate measures the rate at which available homes are sold in a specific real estate market during a given time period (calculated by dividing the total # of homes by the number of sales per month). A balanced market – one that favors neither buyers nor sellers – has an absorption rate of 6 months. According to a December 22 post from Louisville Homes Blog, November Louisville’s absorption rate was an eye-opening 3.68 months. Additionally, there has been nearly a 20% decline in the number of active listings since November 2014.

 "There are two kinds of forecasters: those who don’t know, and those who don’t know they don’t know." - John Kenneth Galbraith

  • Basic economics tells us that with lower supply one can expect higher prices. But even with a lack of inventory there may be a ceiling on home appreciation for the next few years. The S&P/Case-Shiller Housing Index estimates that nationally home prices will rise 3% in 2016 and 2017. This contrasts with an annualized growth rate of 9.5% since the end of 2011, when the Index declared the housing market had hit bottom after the recession.
  • The recent decision by the Federal Reserve to raise the federal funds rate likely signals the beginning of the end for historically rock bottom mortgage rates. This is not to...

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