Back To Blog

NAR Housing Economist 2013 Housing Trends

According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there were a few surprises in the housing market this year.
Price appreciation was more accelerated than anticipated, and cash purchases continued to make up an uncharacteristically large portion of sales."The recovery accelerated a lot faster than we anticipated, which was great for sellers and for the 75 million homeowners who saw their home values appreciate," Yun said in his 7 Housing Trends for 2013.
After a minimal rise from $179,000 to $180,000 over the year in 2012, the national median listing price shot up to $199,500 by September this year, according to  Another surprise for Yun was the large portion of cash purchases. Over the past three years, cash purchases have made up about one-third of home sales, according to  Both investors and overseas purchasers contribute to this trend, but Yun said, "Even some owner-occupant buyers are cash buyers because of the excessively tight underwriting standards for loans."  "Some people are getting help from relatives to buy, and then they plan to take out a home equity loan later to repay them," he said.
Other trends this year include rising mortgage rates, persistently high affordability, bidding wars, demand from first-time home buyers, and mounting popularity for real estate mobile apps.
As Yun expected, mortgage rates increased this year, "but they're still very affordable when you look at rates on a historical basis," he said.  Rising mortgage rates and rising prices contributed to a decline in affordability this year, but despite reaching a five-year low, Yun said, the affordability rate is "still the fifth highest for the past 30 years."
Price appreciation, low mortgage rates, and a third ingredient--scarce inventories--created a recipe for bidding wars this year. As of September, the housing market holds a five-month supply of homes, according to  The market is also beginning to see more demand from traditional buyers.  While homeownership has declined over the past several years, there is now a "replenishment of renters who want to buy homes," said Barry Habib, co-owner and chief market strategist for Residential Finance Corp., according to
Yun also took note of a growing trend among real estate brokerages to produce mobile apps to help both buyers and sellers. "Nearly every Realtor and brokerage in the country introduced a mobile app this year," according to, and consumers are relying on those apps.
Sixty-eight percent of homebuyers used a mobile app while searching for a home, according to a study by Google and NAR.  

Add Comment

Comments are moderated. Please be patient if your comment does not appear immediately. Thank you.


  1. No comments. Be the first to comment.