Is it a good time to buy a house? Understanding the current state of the housing market can help you make your smartest decision:
1. Mortgage rates are moderating.
As mortgage rates increased over the past year, housing market activity began to slow. This caused the average home to receive fewer offers and spend more time on the market. As a result, some homeowners decided to wait to sell. Housing inventory is still at record lows, but it’s up significantly from a year ago.
Currently, mortgage rates are starting to decline from their highest points. Homebuyers have begun returning to the market. “As we enter the beginning of the spring buying season, lower mortgage rates and more homes on the market will help affordability for first-time homebuyers,” Mike Fratantoni, Mortgage Bankers Association Chief Economist, says.
2. Rents keep rising.
Has your rent increased yet? If not, a hike could be coming.
But is it a good time to buy a house? Homebuying costs have increased too, due to rising prices and rates. Interestingly, the market changes brought on by rising mortgage rates can often be beneficial, helping to mitigate higher monthly payments. As we saw in the recent low-rate environment, homebuyers rushed to the market. This created stiff competition, a frenzy of bidding wars, and rapidly inflating home prices.
In a calmer environment where rates are somewhat higher, a homebuyer is less likely to have to compete at the same level. You may have more time to view and compare homes, more room to negotiate on price, and the chance to ask for concessions. In this way, buying a lower-priced home at a higher rate can be comparable to paying an inflated price at a lower rate.
Is it a good time to buy a house? Connect with a local Academy Loan Officer to get your questions answered, no strings attached.
3. Housing prices may continue to rise.
If you’ve been searching for a home, then you already know that:
- Housing prices soared through the pandemic.
- This was caused by booming buyer demand, driven by dramatic drops in mortgage rates.
It’s now 2023, and home prices aren’t expected to plummet. While forecasts vary, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) predicts that national home prices will remain relatively unchanged, with the potential to fluctuate locally. Home prices may begin to appreciate again, by about 5 percent, in 2024. If you wait a year to buy a house, even a slight increase in a home’s price can increase your monthly mortgage payment.
Dave Ramsey also confirms that the ideal time to buy a house is “right now” as home prices aren’t likely to get any lower.
4. You’re missing out on equity.
Renting contributes to your landlord’s equity growth and doesn’t give you the chance to build your own. In the past year, the average homeowner has gained approximately $34,300 in home equity. Renting instead of owning means missing out on these equity gains.
Thankfully, there’s still time. As soon as you become a homeowner, you begin Building Prosperity by building home equity. Many homeowners cash out on this equity in the future, using it to sell and trade up or downsize, help pay for tuition or medical expenses, or start a business.
5. You might get to negotiate.
When buyer demand slows, sellers become more motivated. In the fourth quarter of 2022, a “record share” of home sellers agreed to buyer concessions at 41.9 percent.* “Concessions have made a comeback as rising mortgage rates, inflation, and economic uncertainty have dampened homebuying demand, giving the buyers who remain in the market increased negotiating power,” Redfin reports.*
But spring is a season when more homebuyers typically enter the market. And so, this amount of leverage isn’t guaranteed to last. If you’re a homebuyer who wants the power to negotiate, it may be worth returning to the market as soon as you’re able. When springtime buyer activity picks up, seller concessions may lessen.