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Each week on The Download, Inman’s Christy Murdock takes a deeper look at the top-read stories of the week to give you what you’ll need to meet Monday head-on. This week: You loved last week’s good news on mortgage rates, and this week brought even more smiles to the real estate market.

Y’all, it’s been a year.

From legal troubles to realignments to outsized inflation, the big picture for real estate was of fear and trembling for much of the year. But overshadowing even the commission lawsuits and the meltdowns at NAR was the simple fact that it was just crazy difficult to find clients.

As the Federal Reserve raised interest rates to combat inflation, buyers and sellers both sat on their hands — buyers due to the impact on affordability when combined with sky-high home values and sellers because they already had super-low pandemic-era interest rates and didn’t want to trade.

The result for agents and brokers was a deep pessimism and real questions for some about whether a career in real estate was even sustainable. Then, like the sunshine through the clouds, we got some good news on interest rates — and things began to shake loose. They haven’t stopped over the last week, so it’s time for an all-good-news edition of The Download.

Biggest mortgage rate drop since pandemic sparks agent optimism by Christy Murdock

It seems we’ve talked endlessly about the market impact of rising interest rates combined with low inventory. Higher rates not only make buyers reluctant to search; they make homeowners reluctant to list and trade in their lower-rate mortgage for a rate that’s double or even triple.

Perhaps that’s why this story by Inman’s Matt Carter resonated so strongly with so many of you, offering a glimmer of hope that the bad old days of the 2023 market will give way to sunny skies ahead. Carter’s story led last week’s installment of The Download, which, in turn, became the week’s No. 1 story.

It’s obvious that after a year of frustration, there’s an appetite for good news — and we’ve got even more of it. This week, the happy hits kept rolling in:

Zillow predicts a ‘breather year’ for homebuyers in 2024

The nation’s leading real estate listings search portal is predicting improvements in inventory and affordability for 2024.

In a forecast released Thursday, Zillow predicted homebuyers will have slightly more homes to choose from at slightly more agreeable prices in the new year. Buying a home will remain expensive, but the market will begin to become gradually better for buyers in what Zillow economists called a “breather year.”

EXTRA: 6 keys for leading into the storm during a market downturn

Americans support zoning changes to allow more housing, survey finds

Americans are broadly supportive of an array of zoning changes that have been shown to allow for more affordable housing, according to a new study from Pew Charitable Trusts.

EXTRA: Here’s how to put the commission lawsuits in the rearview mirror

Home inventory finally showing signs of life in November

According to a report published this week by, 7.5 percent more homesellers listed their homes in November 2023 than in November 2022 — the first time the rate of newly listed homes has recorded an annual increase since May 2022.

EXTRA: A step-by-step guide to build the life and business of your dreams

Homebuyers seizing the day as mortgage rates continue to slide

Mortgage rates continue to retreat from their 2023 highs and would-be homebuyers are seizing the day, with applications for purchase loans surging by a seasonally adjusted 5 percent last week from the week before, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported Wednesday.

EXTRA: Brad Inman’s 100 tougher, smarter must-dos for 2024

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