A growing share of home buyers and sellers sat on the sidelines last year as the pace of home sales continued its downward trajectory.1 In fact, since the Federal Reserve began its series of interest rate hikes in 2022, the combination of higher borrowing costs and record-high home prices has fostered the steepest real estate market slowdown since the 2008 recession.2
Priced out of the market, a generation of would-be buyers has been forced to delay their plans for homeownership.3 At the same time, current owners—reluctant to give up their pandemic-era mortgage rates—are waiting to sell, which has resulted in a sharp drop in listings.4
But there may be some relief in sight: In December, the Fed signaled that it was done raising interest rates—and suggested that it could cut rates by 0.75% over the coming year. While mortgages don’t directly follow the federal funds rate, they typically move in tandem—so cheaper home loans may finally be on the horizon.5
Lower mortgage rates should bring some much-needed movement back into the real estate sector. But with a market this fluid, the home buyers and sellers with an edge will be those who proactively leverage a real estate agent’s on-the-ground expertise and stay flexible so that they can quickly adapt to changes.
What does that mean for you? Read on to learn more about the current state of the U.S. housing market, the potential opportunities for buyers and sellers, and economists’ predictions for the year ahead.