The housing market has gone through a lot of change recently, and much of that was a result of how quickly mortgage rates rose last year.
Now, as we move through 2023, there are signs things are finally going to turn around. Home price appreciation is slowing from the recent frenzy, mortgage rates are coming down, inflation is easing, and overall market activity is starting to pick up. All of that’s great news for the housing market this year. Here’s what experts are saying.
Cristian deRitis, Deputy Chief Economist, Moody’s Analytics:
“The current state of the housing market is that it is certainly in transition.”
“Housing is going to ease up. I think 2023 will be a turnaround year.”
“Mortgage rates have fallen in the recent past weeks, so I’m very hopeful that the worst in home sales is probably coming to an end.”
“. . . it appears a turning point for housing lies ahead. In the coming quarters, single-family home building will rise off of cycle lows as mortgage rates are expected to trend lower and boost housing affordability.”
If you’re thinking about making a move this year, a turnaround in the housing market could be exactly what you’ve been waiting for. Work with a local real estate professional to learn about the latest trends in your area.
As mortgage rates rose last year, activity in the housing market slowed down. And as a result, homes started seeing fewer offers and stayed on the market longer. That meant some homeowners decided to press pause on selling.
Now, however, rates are beginning to come down—and buyers are starting to reenter the market. In fact, the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) shows mortgage applications increased last week by 7% compared to the week before.
So, if you’ve been planning to sell your house but you’re unsure if there will be anyone to buy it, this shift in the market could be your chance. Here’s what experts are saying about buyers returning to the market as we approach spring.
Mike Fratantoni, SVP and Chief Economist, MBA:
“Mortgage rates are now at their lowest level since September 2022, and about a percentage point below the peak mortgage rate last fall. 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.”
“The upcoming months should see a return of buyers, as mortgage rates appear to have already peaked and have been coming down since mid-November.”
Thomas LaSalvia, Senior Economist, Moody’s Analytics:
“We expect the labor market to remain robust, wages to continue to rise—maybe not at the pace that they did during the pandemic, but that will open up some opportunity for folks to enter homeownership as interest rates stabilize a bit.”
Sam Khater, Chief Economist, Freddie Mac:
“Homebuyers are waiting for rates to decrease more significantly, and when they do, a strong job market and a large demographic tailwind of Millennial renters will provide support to the purchase market.”
If you’ve been thinking about making a move, now’s the time to get your house ready to sell. Contact a local real estate professional to learn about buyer demand in your area and the best time to put your house on the market.
There are plenty of good reasons you might be ready to move. No matter your motivations, before you list your current house, you need to consider where you’ll go next.
In today’s market, it makes sense to explore all your options. That includes both homes that have been lived in before as well as newly built ones. To help you decide which is right for you, let’s compare the benefits of each. Regardless of which option you choose to explore, working with a trusted real estate professional throughout the process is essential.
The Benefits of Newly Built Homes
First, let’s look at the benefits of purchasing a newly constructed home. With a brand-new house, you’ll be able to:
1. Build your dream home
If you build a home from the ground up, you’ll have the option to select the custom features you want, including appliances, finishes, landscaping, layout, and more. Bankrate puts it like this:
“Building means customizing. . . . instead of wishing your home had a certain kind of flooring, a sunroom or some other special amenity, you’ll be able to tailor the property to your exact needs. You also won’t be limited to a specific location or neighborhood.”
2. Take advantage of builder concessions
In today’s market, a lot of home builders are working hard to sell their current inventory before they add more to their mix. That means many of them are offering concessions and are more willing to negotiate with buyers. That could work to your advantage in the process.
3. Minimize home repairs
Many builders offer a warranty, so you’ll have peace of mind on unlikely repairs. Plus, you won’t have as many little improvement projects to tackle. As realtor.com says:
“. . . if something goes wrong with your new home, not only are there likely some manufacturer warranties in place, but many builders also include additional home warranties . . .”
4. Take advantage of energy efficiency
When building a home, you can choose brand-new, energy-efficient options to help lower your utility costs, protect the environment, and reduce your carbon footprint.
The Benefits of Existing Homes
Now, let’s compare those to the perks that come with buying an existing home. With a pre-existing home, you can:
1. Explore a wider variety of home styles and floorplans
With decades of homes to choose from, you’ll have a broader range of floorplans and designs available.
2. Appreciate that lived-in charm
The character of older homes is hard to reproduce. If you value timeless craftsmanship or design elements, you may prefer an existing home.
3. Join an established neighborhood
Existing homes give you the option to get to know the neighborhood, community, or traffic patterns before you commit. Plus, they have more developed landscaping and trees, which can give you additional privacy and curb appeal.
4. Move in faster
If you have a short timeframe to move or you just don’t want the process to take several months while your home is under construction, buying an existing home might make sense for you. U.S. News explains:
“When you’re choosing a home, existing or new, you should also consider how long it might take to move into that home. Just because you have a contract doesn’t mean that your new home will be completed (or even started) at the time you agree to the purchase. It can be a struggle waiting for the walls to go up as you wonder what your home will become.”
When thinking about where you’ll go after you sell your house, remember your options. As you start your search, think about what’s most important to you. By working with a trusted real estate agent, you can be confident you’re making the most educated, informed decision.
If you have questions about the options in your area, meet with a local real estate professional to discuss what’s available and what’s right for you.
Spring is usually the busiest season in the housing market. Many buyers wait until then to make their move, believing it’s the best time to find a home. However, that isn’t always the case when you factor in the competition you could face with other buyers at that time of year. If you’re ready to buy a home, here’s why it makes sense to move before the spring market picks up.
Spring Should Bring a Wave of Buyers to the Market
In most years, the housing market goes through predictable seasonal trends in activity. Winter is typically a quiet point in the year, while spring sees a surge of buyers begin their search. And experts project that this year will be no exception.
Right now, buyer demand is low due to a combination of normal seasonal trends and a reaction to last year’s rise in mortgage rates. But rates have started to come down since last November, which has more and more potential buyers planning to jump into the market. That means right now is a sweet spot if you’re in a good position to buy, before more buyers reappear. Affordability is beginning to improve, but demand is still low — for now. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), shares:
“. . . expect sales to pick up again soon since mortgage rates have markedly declined after peaking late last year.”
If you’re ready to buy a home, right now is the best time to do so before your competition grows and more buyers enter the market.
Today’s Sellers Are Motivated
Low demand from buyers often means sellers are more motivated to work with you, and that can set you up to buy a home on your terms. In fact, sellers have been more willing to negotiate this winter because there are fewer buyers in the market. According to a recent article from Forbes:
“. . . sellers gave concessions to buyers in 41.9% of home sales in the fourth quarter of last year.”
But keep in mind, the advantages buyers have this winter won’t last forever. The competition you face could be greater if you wait until spring to make a move, and increased buyer demand means sellers will have less motivation to negotiate with you. Be sure to work with a trusted real estate professional to learn what you can expect in your local market right now.
If you’re in a position to buy a home, it may make sense to move before spring. Working with your team of expert real estate advisors is the best way to learn about the current market and what it means for you. Connect with a professional today to determine the best plan to achieve your homebuying goals.
If you’ve seen recent headlines about foreclosures surging in the housing market, you’re certainly not alone. There’s no doubt, the stories in the media can be pretty confusing right now. They may even make you think twice about buying a home for fear that prices could crash. The reality is, the data shows a foreclosure crisis is not where the market is headed, and understanding what that really means is mission critical if you want to know the truth about what’s happening today. Here’s a deeper look.
According to the Year-End 2022 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report from ATTOM, foreclosure filings are up 115% from 2021, but down 34% from 2019. As media headlines grab onto this 115% increase, it’s more important than ever to put that percentage into context.
While the number of foreclosure filings did more than double last year, we need to remember why that happened and how it compares to more normal, pre-pandemic years in the market. Thanks to the forbearance program and other relief options for homeowners, foreclosure filings were down to record-low levels in 2020 and 2021, so any increase last year is — no surprise — a jump up. Rick Sharga, Executive VP of Market Intelligence at ATTOM, notes:
“Eighteen months after the end of the government’s foreclosure moratorium, and with less than five percent of the 8.4 million borrowers who entered the CARES Act forbearance program remaining, foreclosure activity remains significantly lower than it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems clear that government and mortgage industry efforts during the pandemic, coupled with a strong economy, have helped prevent millions of unnecessary foreclosures.”
Clearly, these options meant millions of homeowners could stay in their homes, allowing them to get back on their feet during a very challenging period. With home values rising at the same time, many homeowners who may have found themselves facing foreclosure under other circumstances were able to leverage their equity and sell their houses rather than face foreclosure, and that trend continues today.
And remember, as the graph below shows, foreclosures today are far below the record-high 2.9 million that were reported in 2010 when the housing market crashed.
So, while foreclosures are rising, keeping perspective in mind is key. As Bill McBride, Founder and Author of Calculated Risk, noted just last week:
“The bottom line is there will be an increase in foreclosures over the next year (from record low levels), but there will not be a huge wave of distressed sales as happened following the housing bubble. The distressed sales during the housing bust led to cascading price declines, and that will not happen this time.”
Right now, putting the data into context is more important than ever. While the housing market is experiencing an expected rise in foreclosures, it’s nowhere near the crisis levels seen when the housing bubble burst, and that won’t lead to a crash in home prices.
If you’ve been following the housing market over the last couple of years, you’ve likely heard about growing affordability challenges. But according to experts, the key factors that determine housing affordability are projected to improve this year. Selma Hepp, Executive, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic, shares:
“. . . with slowly improving affordability and a more optimistic economic outlook than previously believed, the housing market could show resilience in 2023.”
The three measures used to establish home affordability are home prices, mortgage rates, and wages. Here’s a closer look at each one.
1. Mortgage Rates
Mortgage rates shot up to over 7% last year, causing many buyers to put their plans on hold. But things are looking different today as rates are starting to come down. George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.com, explains:
“Let’s celebrate some good news. . . . mortgage rates are down. With inflation showing a tangible slowdown, I do expect mortgage rates to follow suit in the months ahead.”
Even a small change in rates can impact your purchasing power. Nadia Evangelou, Director of Forecasting for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), gives this context:
“With a 6% rate instead of 7%, buyers pay about $2,700 less every year on their mortgage. As a result, owning a home becomes affordable to about 1.4 million more renters and 4.3 million more homeowners.”
If 7% rates paused your homebuying plans last year, this could be the opportunity you need to get back in the game. Be sure to work with a team of experts who know the latest on mortgage rates and can give you the best advice for the current market.
2. Home Prices
The second factor at play is home prices. Home prices have made headlines over the past few years because they skyrocketed during the pandemic. When discussing home prices in 2023, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, says:
“After a big boom over the past two years, there will essentially be no change nationally . . . Half of the country may experience small price gains, while the other half may see slight price declines.”
So, while prices will likely be flat this year in some markets, others could see small gains or slight declines. It all depends on your local area. For insight into what’s happening in your market and how prices are impacting affordability, reach out to a trusted real estate professional.
The final component in the affordability equation is wages. The graph below uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to show how wages have increased over time:
When you think about affordability, remember the full picture includes more than just mortgage rates and prices. Wages need to be factored in as well. Because wages have been rising, many buyers have renewed opportunity in the market.
While affordability hurdles are not completely going away this year, based on current trends and projections, 2023 should bring some sense of relief to homebuyers who have faced growing challenges. As Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), says:
“Rates are expected to move lower for the year, and home price growth is expected to cool, both of which will help affordability challenges.”
If you have questions, reach out to a trusted real estate professional to explore your options. You may be closer to owning a home than you think.