Something Weird Is Happening to New Home Prices

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It's 2020, at least for a few more months, which means we have every right to expect bad news from pretty much any corner we check. And yet, in the housing market, things are weirdly optimistic. It's a complicated picture, but it could mean something good for prospective buyers, at least for a little while.

Last month, Meyers Research released new numbers on new home sales, which jumped almost 33 percent from the same period last year. Not only that, but since 2016, a significant number of cities have seen their housing supply grow more affordable. In Los Angeles, for instance, mortgage payments are an average $171 cheaper than they were four years ago. Some drops are sharper: In Denver, homeowners were paying an average $176 more in 2019 than they do today.

The news isn't rosy all around; significantly less affordable housing markets include Las Vegas, Seattle, Atlanta, and Salt Lake City. But even though it's harder to nail down a home in some places rather than others, analysts have some encouragement for potential homeowners. Costs may be up and supply may be curtailed, but mortgage rates are at staggering lows, thanks to government efforts to juice the economy during the pandemic. COVID-19 certainly is making buying a home more complicated, but real estate professionals have a keen interest in working around those hassles.

When you do finally apply for a mortgage, remember to shop around. It's going to be part of your life for a while, if you decide to stop renting. If you can swing it, locking in a good rate now could pay you back for the next several decades.