2018: The year of heading to the ‘burbs? And other real estate predictions

By: Caitlin McCabe, Philadelphia Inquirer

Updated: November 24, 2017

2017 — and the craziness that has come with it — may not be over yet, but economists are already looking toward to the start of 2018.

A new year will not necessarily bring a new housing market, the economists predict, as many of the problems that plagued the market in 2017 — namely, the inventory shortage — continue.

Still, some big changes could be afoot. As the number of homes listed for sale will remain in short supply next year, homeowners will choose to remodel instead of sell, worsening the inventory crisis, economists at Zillow predict. And with so much pent-up demand brewing, builders will take notice: Finally, according to the predictions, they will begin building the elusive entry-level home again.

To do that, and to actually make money doing so, builders will have to return to a familiar strategy, Zillow said: suburban sprawl.

In an era in which cities are having their moment in the spotlight, the sudden suburban reversal may seem shocking. After all, as urban areas have continued to see an influx of better dining, entertainment, and housing options, younger and wealthier residents have poured into cities, boosting housing demand and raising prices.

That’s exactly why the suburbs will soon have their moment, observers say.

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