16 REALTOR® JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2015 REALTORMAG.REALTOR.ORG
2015 Forecast: Gains Ahead
Continued economic growth and more reasonable lending standards
could unleash pent-up demand for home sales. By Robert Freedman
Alone among big Western economies, the United
States is poised for solid growth in 2015, fueling job
creation and keeping home sales on an upward path.
The National Association of REALTORS® forecasts
that existing-home sales will reach 5. 3 million, an
increase of almost half a million over 2014. The
national median home price will rise, too, but at a
sustainable 4 percent rate, to just below $216,000.
Increasingly confident renter households will
enter the homebuying market after watching rental
growth rates hit a seven-year high. And households
that were forced into foreclosure or a short sale
during the housing crisis several years ago could
begin streaming back to the market, too.
Sales will be bolstered by the expected return of
more reasonable mortgage underwriting standards
that were in place prior to the housing boom.
This shift by lenders will help soften the impact of
gradually rising interest rates, which NAR expects to
top out just below 5 percent this year. If interest rates
defy expectations and remain close to where they
are currently, this will be another boost to housing
sales, says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.
On the commercial side, continued modest
improvement in vacancies, absorption rates, and
rent growth is projected for all the major sectors in
The big unknown for real estate is the health of
the global economy. If the economies of Europe and
other powerhouses continue to lag, further U. S.
growth could be stymied, slowing the expansion of
residential and commercial markets.