The key to understanding the housing market: There is no such thing as a stupid question
If you’re planning on buying a home this year, you aren’t alone. A new NerdWallet survey finds that “… about 28 million Americans” have plans to buy a home in 2023.
That’s the happy news.
According to the same survey, these would-be homebuyers think that they will spend $269,200 on the home. That’s not-so-happy news.
In fact, that figure, according to NerdWallet.com’s Elizabeth Renter, illustrates “… an unrealistic optimism.”
Because the nationwide median price of a home in January (the latest figure available at the time of this writing), was $359,000, according to housing market experts at NAR.realtor.
In reality, the median home price hasn’t been as low as the figure dancing through potential buyers’ heads since 2013, claims Renter, citing Federal Reserve statistics.
While this is good news for home sellers (because this figure represents a month-over-month price increase) it shows that most home buyers, and most likely home sellers as well, have a lack of understanding of the current housing market.
Home price activity in our market. Yes, the national housing market is a product of the economy overall, but to understand the local market you’ll need to follow home prices here, at home. Remember, all real estate is local, and not every market is faring the same.
For instance, Holden Lewis with NerdWallet.com claims that “Home prices already have been falling, especially on the West Coast, and prices will fall in some cities in 2023,”
That “some cities” claim is more proof that not all real estate markets are reacting similarly. Thus, again, it the importance of understanding what’s happening in our market.
Keep an eye on mortgage rates
Did you know that, over the past 50 years, the average 30-year mortgage rate was 7.75%? (NerdWallet.com).
Put in that context, our current rates, albeit frequently fluctuating, are far below the historic average. As of February 23, weekly averages sat at 6.5% for a 30-year mortgage and 5.76% for a 15-year mortgage, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey®. Economists expect them to decline further if inflation eases.
So, there are two additional things to keep your eye on:
- Inflation news
- Current mortgage rates are realistically evaluated against the average over the past 50 years.
Mortgage rates change daily. If your aim is to buy a home sooner rather than later and you have an idea of an interest rate you can tolerate, check rates online as often as possible. This allows you to follow and “… understand the trends and make sure you’re getting the best rate,” suggests Ben Luthi at Bankrate.com.
“Just keep in mind that your specific rate could be lower or higher than the average rate, depending on your financial profile, down payment and other factors,” he concludes.
If you are brand new to the world of real estate and economics, we suggest that you check out the Congressional Research Service’s Introduction to U.S. Economy: Housing Market. It’s a quick, informative read.
The most important thing to do while waiting to sell or buy a home is to learn as much about the market and the process as possible. We are always willing to share our knowledge of the market with you and point you to financial experts if you have questions about the mortgage process and mortgage rates.
There’s no such thing as a stupid question, so ask away!
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