“The reason why I say lucky is because what happened over the last three years was stunning and, in some ways, was a bit like winning the lottery,” Skylar Olsen, the chief economist at real estate company Zillow, told MarketWatch.
California is currently the US’ most valuable housing market, per Zillow. The state’s housing market is now worth over $10 trillion — nearly 20% of the national total. Other top US housing markets by value include Florida, New York, Texas, and New Jersey.
The median price of an existing home in the US rose nearly 53% from $266,300 in January 2020 to $407,100 in August 2023, according to the National Association of Realtors, or NAR. Higher home prices and mortgage rates have hit home sales, which have plunged to around 4 million homes a year, down from around 6.6 million a year in late 2020, per NAR.
However, thanks to the stunning price appreciation, some people may be able to cash out and downgrade to a smaller home without taking on debt.
Zillow’s Olsen added to MarketWatch that the “luckiest” home seller would be someone who can afford their next home without taking on a mortgage.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, older homeowners are more likely to be mortgage-free. Nearly 78% of those who owned their homes free and clear in 2021 were people aged 55 and older, according to the most recent data available from the US Census Bureau.
Research from the NAR released in March showed boomers aged 58 to 76 were leading the way in selling and buying homes.
In 2022, 52% of home sellers were boomers — up from 42% in 2021, according to the NAR. They were also the biggest buyers of homes, snapping up 39% of all homes in 2022 — up from 29% in 2021.
Rising home prices and strong demand from boomers mean many millennials have been squeezed out of the homebuyers market, Insider’s James Rodriguez reported in April.
Just 28% of home buyers in 2022 were millennials — a sharp decrease from 43% in the previous year.
The post There’s one ‘lucky’ group of homeowners in America’s housing market, says a Zillow economist appeared first on Business Insider.