What a difference plunging mortgage rates make!
That's our initial reaction to seeing what's happening in the West region of the U.S. housing market, where the combination of very high existing home sale prices and rising mortgage rates had been killing the real estate market in these states. Our latest estimates of the total valuation of existing home sales in this region through February 2019 from Zillow's seasonally adjusted state level sales data are showing signs of a strong rebound.
This change has followed after mortgage rates in the U.S. have decreased sharply after peaking at 4.94% in mid-November 2018. The following charts shows how 30-year mortgage rates have evolved from January 2016 through May 2019. It's interactive, so if you're accessing this article on a site that republishes our RSS news feed that doesn't properly render it, please either click here for a static version of the chart, or click through to our site.
Through February 2019, 30-year mortgage rates in the U.S. have dropped six-tenths of a percent. Going into March 2019, mortgage rates have continued to dropped, reaching a low of 4.06% near the end of that month.
Looking ahead at some of the individual states in the West region for which we have detailed sales data for March 2019, we find that the rebound in the estimated total valuation of home sale prices has continued. The following region updates our earlier look at the state level trends for the west coast states of California, Oregon, and Washington.
All these states are showing sings of a rebound. Washington showing an especially robust rebound in sales, having reached a new peak after having plunged by nearly 16% from March 2018 through October 2018. California has shown a more modest rebound, rising to a level 9% below its March 2018 peak, while Oregon is lagging behind with its March 2019 sales falling some 12.5% below its previous March 2018 peak.
As they say in real estate, all markets are local.
Editor's Note: The summary bullets for this article were chosen by Seeking Alpha editors.