A slowdown is expected in the U.S. housing market in 2020, and first-time homebuyers will continue to struggle with affordability, according to a report released today by realtor.com. Sales in the Boston market are projected to drop 2.1 percent over the next year, while prices will increase 1.2 percent.

That’s compared to an anticipated 1.8 percent decline in existing home sales, nationally, to 5.23 million and a 0.8 percent increase in home prices, the study noted. George Ratiu, senior economist at realtor.com, said in a press release that 2020 will be a challenging year for buyers because of low inventory levels.

“Housing remains a solid foundation for the U.S. economy going into 2020,” he said. “Although economic output is expected to soften – influenced by clouds of uncertainty in the global outlook, business investment and trade – real estate fundamentals remain entangled in a lattice of continuing demand, tight supply and disciplined financial underwriting.”

Price are expected to decline in 25 of the 100 largest metro areas of the country, the report predicted, but mortgage rates will remain reasonable at 3.85 percent over the course of the year.

Some entry-level inventory will be freed up as Generation X homeowners are expected to upsize over the next …


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