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Zillow expects home-buying market to keep slowing, and commutes to get worse

Tomi Kilgore

Real estate marketplace Zillow Group Inc. said it expects the home-buying market to continue to slow in 2019, as a continued rise in interest rates hurts affordability, particularly in already expensive markets. Zillow said it expects the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will rise to 5.8% by the end of 2019, compared with an average of 4.8% in the Nov. 21 week, according to Freddie Mac. "Some buyers may be pushed back toward the rental market, reversing the recent slowdown in rents," Zillow said. The company said it expects home price growth to slow, from a 5.6% rise since January to 3.8% growth in 2019. "The central storylines in the U.S. housing market didn't change much over the past few years, but a series of emerging trends are setting up a much different narrative for 2019," said Aaron Terrazas, Zillow's senior economist. Separately, the company said "commutes will worsen as the mismatch grows between job creation in urban cores and millennials settling in the suburbs." Zillow's stock has tumbled 30.6% over the past three months, while the SPDR S&P Homebuilers ETF has dropped 13.9% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 5.1%.