Suburban-bound millennials and other 2018 housing trends to watch

Published November 24 2017
Updated November 24 2017

What’s ahead for real estate in 2018? Zillow economists put their heads together and offered up a laundry list of forecasts and predictions. The chief one to remember? Inventory shortages of homes for sale which challenged the market in 2017 will persist next year — "continuing to play a significant role in pushing up prices."

Tight inventory, Zillow said, will most pressure first-time home buyers, who lack the benefit of profits from a prior home sale to boost their down payments and make them more competitive.

Among Zillow’s other looks ahead:

• Builders will turn their focus to entry-level homes: "Builders cannot and will not ignore a hungry market. They’ll respond to the demand of more first-time buyers entering the market by increasing construction of new, entry-level homes.

• Millennials will move to the suburbs: That generation likes urban core living but face it — many will be unable to afford it and will have to look elsewhere.

• Many homeowners will remodel rather than sell: That’s one reason the inventory of homes for sale will remain so tight.

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• Baby Boomers and millennials will drive home design: These newly constructed and renovated homes will feature designs that appeal to both millennials and Baby Boomers. For example, they might boast wide hallways that can accommodate both strollers (for young families) and/or wheelchairs (for aging Boomers).

• Homes prices will continue to rise, but at a slower pace: Home prices are expected to climb 4.1 percent in 2018, according to more than 100 housing experts and economists surveyed in the latest Zillow home price expectations survey. That is still fast compared to "normal" annual appreciation closer to 3 percent, but is slower than the current 6.9 percent annual pace of home value growth.