2016 was certainly a remarkable year. But will 2017 be any different? In his latest blog post, Assist2Sell Real Estate’s Max F Tennies gives his property predictions for 2017.

Home sales expected to edge up slightly in 2017

Following a dip in home sales in 2016, California’s housing market will post a nominal increase in 2017, as supply shortages and affordability constraints hamper market activity, according to the "2017 California Housing Market Forecast," released by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATON OF REALTORS(R) (C.A.R.).

The C.A.R. forecast sees a modest increase in existing home sales of 1.4 percent next year to reach 413,000 units, up slightly from the projected 2016 sales figure of 407,300 homes sold. Sales in 2016 also will be virtually flat at 407,300 existing, single-family home sales, compared with the 408,800 pace of homes sold in 2015.

Next year, California’s housing market will be driven by tight housing supplies and the lowest housing affordability in six years.  The market will experience regional differences, with more affordable areas, such as the Inland Empire and Central Valley, outperforming the urban coastal centers, where high home prices and a limited availability of homes on the market will hamper sales. As a result, the Southern California regions will see moderate sales increases as home buyers migrate to peripheral cities with more affordable options.

C.A.R.’s forecast projects growth in the U.S. Gross Domestic Product of 2.2 percent in 2017, after a projected gain of 1.5 percent in 2016. With California’s nonfarm job growth at 1.6 percent, down from a projected 2.3 percent in 2016, the state’s unemployment rate will reach 5.3 percent in 2017, compared with 5.5 percent in 2016 and 6.2 percent in 2015.

The average for 30-year, fixed mortgage interest rates will rise only slightly to 4.0 percent in 2017, up from 3.6 percent in 2016, but will still remain at historically low levels.

The California median home price is forecast to increase 4.3 percent to $525,600 in 2017, following a projected 6.2 percent increase in 2016 to $503,900, representing the slowest rate of price appreciation in six years.

With the California economy continuing to outperform the nation, the demand for housing will remain robust even with supply and affordability constraints still very much in evidence. The net result will be California’s housing market posting a modest increase in 2017.

The underlying fundamentals continue to support overall home sales growth, but headwinds, such as global economic uncertainty and deteriorating housing affordability, will temper stronger sales activity.