Navigating the 2024 real estate market: Challenges, opportunities and empowering the next generation – Chicago Agent magazine

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It’s no secret that our industry saw an array of challenges in 2023. The market was once again shaped by elevated mortgage rates, high home prices and limited housing inventory. And in addition to these economic forces, plaintiffs’ lawyers continued to take aim at the way real estate professionals are compensated. While our industry will face considerable challenges in 2024, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is optimistic about what’s ahead. We remain firmly committed to advocating for homeownership, empowering members and communities, and putting consumer interests first.

Before delving into NAR’s market forecasts for 2024, I want to briefly discuss the Burnett case and copycat suits, as this litigation is, of course, top of mind for all of us real estate professionals. I recently shared my thoughts on the topic in a USA Today piece and want to reiterate that NAR will not remain silent as plaintiffs’ lawyers push disinformation about our industry. Far from harming consumers, agents who are Realtors are foundational to our communities and deliver value across America. Our compensation is and always has been negotiable, and the practice of listing brokers offering to compensate buyer brokers is one that emerged organically in the marketplace decades ago because it is efficient and good for consumers — both sellers and buyers. We stand by the benefits of cooperative compensation and will appeal this misguided verdict and contest the similarly flawed claims made in copycat suits.

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In terms of market performance, we witnessed a series of headwinds in 2023 — an 18% decline in home sales driven by a lack of inventory and high interest rates, and 30-year fixed mortgage rates reaching as high as 8%. The market, however, proved resilient, and NAR’s research team anticipates mortgage rates will continue to decline, potentially reaching 6.5% by the middle of 2024. This will lead more sellers to enter the market, and, coupled with a resurgence in new construction and development activity, we could see a gradual increase in housing inventory over the next year. NAR predicts for this coming year that existing home sales will rise by 13.5% and the median home price will reach $389,500 — an increase of 0.9% from 2023.

This potential for lower mortgage rates and greater housing inventory suggests the market will balance out in 2024, which would especially benefit first-time buyers. Agents who are Realtors are best equipped to lead first-time buyers through the homeownership process, and NAR remains committed to empowering and supporting first-time buyers in realizing their goals.

In keeping with this evolving market landscape, one of NAR’s key initiatives in 2024 is Ignite Others, a program we rolled out in August that aligns with our broader mission to drive transformational change in our communities, illuminating career opportunities and financial wellness for all.

This initiative will feature programs aimed at deepening our members’ service to their communities, including teaching financial literacy and homeownership preparedness to high school students. By educating students about budgeting, borrowing, credit scores and investing, we’re aiming to bridge the gap in financial literacy and help students see homeownership as an attainable goal.

We are focused on moving our industry forward. Our advocacy for policies that enhance property rights and market stability are the hallmarks of our association. As we continue to face economic headwinds, lawsuits based on false premises and other industry complexities, I am certain NAR members will continue doing what they do best: supporting millions of Americans as they fulfill their homeownership goals.

Tracy Kasper is the president of the National Association of REALTORS®.

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