Our 2019 Year in Review Market Watch is now live on madonnaphillipsgroup.com. Our housing markets gained momentum in the second half of 2019, picking up speed from a quieter first half in most regions. Single family home sales in the third and fourth quarters demonstrated improvement over the same quarters the prior year in several markets, with even the upper end exhibiting positive signs in areas where the luxury segment has been stagnant for a prolonged period.
The downturn that extended throughout 2018 and the first half of 2019 at least partially resulted from the tax reform passed at the end of 2017, as well as further state and local taxes imposed by New York and Connecticut. Yet by now the market is absorbing those effects. The key indicators we watch when analyzing the market all point to continued health in the economy, which is offsetting the negative impact of the tax bill. These include ongoing historically low interest rates; low mortgage rates, averaging 3.74% on the last day of December; the lowest unemployment rate in decades; a booming stock market; and steady GDP growth, estimated to reach 2.3% in the fourth quarter. Consumer confidence, our benchmark in gauging the health of the real estate market, has remained consistently elevated, standing at 126.5 (1985=100) in December according to the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index.
Nationally and globally, there may be volatile political or economic factors that could affect housing, and election years can be unpredictable. Nevertheless, with the economy showing little sign of slowing we feel encouraged. The gains of the past six months provide us with reason for cautious optimism as we kick into gear for 2020.
For a more detailed analysis and to see how each market performed, please read the new report here: https://madonnaphillipsgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/4Q19MarketWatch.pdf