Mortgage rates have increased significantly in recent weeks. And that may mean you have questions about what this means for you if you’re planning to buy a home. Here’s some information that can help you make an informed decision when you set your homebuying plans.
The Impact of Rising Mortgage Rates
As mortgage rates rise, they impact your purchasing power by raising the cost of buying a home and limiting how much you can comfortably afford. Here’s how it works.
Let’s assume you want to buy a $400,000 home (the median-priced home according to the National Association of Realtors is $389,500). If you’re trying to shop at that price point and keep your monthly payment about $2,500-2,600 or below, here’s how your purchasing power can change as mortgage rates climb (see chart below). The red shows payments above that threshold and the green indicates a payment within your target range.
As the chart shows, as rates go up, the amount you can afford to borrow decreases and that may mean you have to look at homes at a different price point. That’s why it’s important to work with a real estate advisor to understand how mortgage rates impact your monthly mortgage payment at various home loan amounts.
Are Mortgage Rates Going To Go Down?
The rise in mortgage rates and the resulting decrease in purchasing power may leave you wondering if you should wait for rates to go down before making your purchase. Realtor.com says this about where rates could go from here:
“Many homebuyers likely winced . . . upon hearing that the Federal Reserve yet again boosted its short-term interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point—a move that’s pushing mortgage rates through the roof. And the already high rates are just going to get higher.”
So, if you’re waiting for mortgage rates to drop, you may be waiting for a while as the Federal Reserve works to get inflation under control.
And if you’re considering renting as your alternative while you wait it out, remember that’s going to get more expensive with time too. As Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:
“There is no doubt that these higher rates hurt housing affordability. Nevertheless, apart from borrowing costs, rents additionally rose at their highest pace in nearly four decades.”
Basically, it is true that it costs more to buy a home today than it did last year, but the same is true for renting. This means, either way, you’re going to be paying more. The difference is, with homeownership, you’re also gaining equity over time which will help grow your net worth. The question now becomes: what makes more sense for you?
Each person’s situation is unique. To make the best decision for you, partner with a real estate advisor to explore your options.
The historically low inventory over the past few years led to challenges for many buyers trying to find a home that met their needs and their budget. If you’re in the same boat, you should know the recent shift in the housing market may have opened up doors for you to restart your search.
The inventory of homes for sale has increased this year, and that’s giving buyers much needed options. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, says:
“. . . today’s shoppers have more than 5 homes to consider for every 4 they had at this time a year ago.”
But perspective is important. Overall, housing supply is still low. If you need even more choices, expanding your search by adding additional housing types, like condominiums, could help.
Exploring Condos Could Add Options That Fit Your Budget
One thing to consider is condos generally differ from single-family homes in average space and floorplans. But that size difference is one reason why condos can be a more affordable option. According to a recent report from realtor.com, condo buyers paid roughly 7% less for their home than buyers of other housing types last year. With rising mortgage rates and home prices, the relative affordability of a condo could be worth considering.
Remember, your first home doesn’t have to be your forever home. The important thing is to get your foot in the door as a homeowner. Buying a condo now can springboard you into a bigger home later on. An article from the Urban Institute explains:
“Because condos and co-ops are generally more affordable, they tend to help first-time homebuyers step onto the first rung of the homeownership ladder. These buyers often use the equity on their condo to then purchase a larger single-family home.”
In other words, owning a condo will help you start building wealth in the form of home equity. In time, the equity you build can fuel a future purchase should you decide you want to buy a home with more space or different amenities.
Condo Living Provides Several Great Perks
Boosting the number of options in your budget during your home search is just one reason to consider condos, but there are several other benefits to condo living.
First, they tend to require minimal upkeep and lower maintenance – and that can give you more time to spend doing the things you enjoy. A recent article from Bankrate highlights this, saying:
“Condos can be a good option for anyone who wants to keep home maintenance to a minimum . . . if the roof is leaking or the carpet in the lobby needs to be replaced, that’s not your responsibility — the condo association handles those duties.”
Plus, since many condos are located in or near city centers, they offer the added benefit of being in close proximity to work and leisure. Again, realtor.com explains:
“Buying a condo, which is generally less expensive than a single-family home, enables a household to afford to own in the middle of it all, and often means a newer-built home with less maintenance responsibility.”
Ultimately, owning and living in a condo can be a lifestyle choice. And if that appeals to you, they could give you the added options you need to buy your first home.
Adding condominiums to your housing search could be a great move. If you’re ready to search condos in your area, connect with a local real estate professional today.
If you’re thinking about buying a home today, there’s welcome news. Even though it’s still a sellers’ market, it’s a more moderate sellers’ market than last year. And the days of feeling like you may need to waive contingencies or pay drastically over asking price to get your offer considered may be coming to a close.
Today, you should have less competition and more negotiating power as a buyer. That’s because the intensity of buyer demand and bidding wars is easing this year. So, if bidding wars were the biggest factor that had you sitting on the sidelines, here are two trends that may be just what you need to re-enter the market.
1. The Return of Contingencies
Over the last two years, more buyers were willing to skip important steps in the homebuying process, like the appraisal or inspection, to try to win a bidding war. But now, fewer people are waiving the inspection and appraisal.
The latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the percentage of buyers waiving their home inspection and appraisal is declining. And a recent survey from realtor.com confirms more sellers are accepting offers that include these conditions today. According to their August study:
- 95% of sellers reported buyers requested a home inspection
- 67% of sellers negotiated with buyers on repairs as a result of the inspection findings
This goes to show buyers are more able to include these conditions in their offers today and negotiate as needed based on the outcome of the inspection.
2. Sellers Are More Willing To Help with Closing Costs
Generally, closing costs range between 2% and 5% of the purchase price for the home. Before the pandemic, it was a common negotiation tactic for sellers to cover some of the buyer’s closing costs to sweeten the deal. This didn’t happen as much during the peak buyer frenzy over the past two years.
Today, as the market shifts and demand slows, data from realtor.com suggests this is making a comeback. A recent article shows 32% of sellers paid some or all of their buyer’s closing costs. This may be a negotiation tool you’ll see as you go to purchase a home. Just keep in mind, limits on closing cost credits are set by your lender and can vary by state and loan type. Work closely with your loan advisor to understand how much a seller can contribute to closing costs in your area.
Regardless of the extremely competitive housing market of the past several years, today’s data suggests negotiations are starting to come back on the table. This is good news if you’re planning to enter the housing market. To find out how the market is shifting in your area, connect with your local real estate advisor today.
It’s clear the 2022 housing market has been defined by rising mortgage rates. With rates on the rise, it’s also become more costly to purchase a home. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR):
“Compared to one year ago, the monthly mortgage payment rose to $1,944 from $1,265, an increase of 53.7%.”
If you’re thinking of buying a home or have been trying to recently, that’s a big increase in a monthly mortgage payment – and it may be causing you to press pause on your plans. This jump is making homes less affordable, especially compared to the last two years when mortgage rates were at historic lows.
The good news is you can navigate today’s housing market and this rising rate environment with a few simple tips. Here are three things you may want to consider to help make your homeownership goals a reality.
1. Expand Your Search Area and Criteria
If you’ve been looking for a home in the city center or a specific area that’s starting to feel out of your price range, you may want to try looking a little further out in a location that could be more affordable. Expanding your search location or re-prioritizing the items on your wish list can open up opportunities you haven’t considered, and that could help you afford more of what you need (and want) in a home. As CNET notes:
“Area growth is likely to keep pace with the market, which means that the outskirts of town might be hopping within five years. Consider stepping out of your ideal location by searching in the nearby cities. You may find better prices and more square footage.”
2. Explore Alternative Financing Options
Working with a trusted lender to learn about the different loan types and options is essential too. According to Nerd Wallet:
“A variety of mortgages are available with varying down payment and eligibility requirements.”
Experts know how to point you in the right direction when it comes to exploring ways to find the best home loan for your situation. With rising mortgage rates making it more costly to finance a home today, there may be an ideal option out there your loan officer can introduce you to. This could make a home purchase more affordable and within your financial reach over the life of your loan.
3. Look for Grants, Gift Funds, and Down Payment Assistance
There are also many options available when it comes to securing the funding you need to purchase a home. One valuable resource to explore is downpaymentresource.com. Searching for specific down payment assistance options available in your local community could be a game changer when it comes to taking your first step toward homeownership. As NAR indicates:
“Many local governments and non-profit organizations offer down-payment assistance grants and loans, targeted to area borrowers and often with specific borrower requirements.”
Plus, there are programs and special benefits for individuals working in certain professions or with unique statuses, including teachers, doctors and nurses, and veterans.
Ultimately, that means there are many federal, state, and local programs available for you to explore. The best way to do that is to connect with a local real estate professional and your lender to learn more about what’s available in your area.
If you’ve been searching for a home and have found yourself stepping out of the process because you’re worried about rising costs, connect with a trusted real estate expert. Having a team of local advisors on your side may be just what you need to guide your search in a new and more affordable direction.