What Mid-Atlantic real estate pros think the market will do in 2020

by Steve Randall07 Feb 2020

Real estate professionals in the Mid-Atlantic region are optimistic about the housing market in 2020 according to a new survey.

The poll of 1,000 professionals by Bright MLS covers the Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia markets.

“The Mid-Atlantic U.S. is home to one of the most dynamic and high-profile housing markets in America today, and developments in our area often serve as bellwethers for nationwide trends,” said Brian Donnellan, President and CEO of Bright MLS.  “2019 was a tremendous year for the housing market in the Mid-Atlantic, and our survey shows that local real estate professionals are optimistic about the region experiencing another banner year in 2020.”

More than 4 in 10 (44%) respondents said that the strong job market will be a major positive for the housing market while a similar share is concerned that homeowners may not move until after the election.

Asked what buyers want, 71% said suburban single-family homes and are interested in school ratings, neighborhood safety ratings, proximity to mass transit, walkability and proximity to parks.

Prices and mortgages
The survey also asked the real estate pros home prices and mortgage options.

More than 6 in 10 believe that home prices will continue to rise in 2020 and as a result, the share of FHAs or other low-down payment options will rise.

Low inventory continues to challenge the market and 41% think it will be the biggest negative for the housing market. Despite around half of respondents being positive about inventory levels, 80% stated that builders are not constructing enough affordable homes in the areas they serve, while over two-thirds say that downsizing may be a key reason we see new homes come onto the market.

Millennials lead first-time buyers
Respondents said that most first-time homebuyers are millennials, many of whom are facing challenges to buying:

  • The cost of the down payment (29%)
  • Lack of inventory (29%)
  • Affordability (22%)
  • Qualifying for a mortgage (17%)

Student loan debt is also a major hurdle for would-be first-time buyers – cited by 73% of real estate professionals – but also for existing homeowners wanting to move.

Debts mean that potential buyers are:

  • Waiting longer to buy a home (48%)
  • Having more trouble qualifying for a mortgage (34%)
  • Buying less expensive homes (14%)



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