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What does it mean for you?There’s no evidence that home prices are headed for a major decline. So if you’re ready and able to afford a home, this is a great time to test the waters. The best bargains are often found in a slower market, like the one we’re experiencing right now. Contact us to discuss your goals and budget. We can help you make an informed decision about the right time to buy. And if you’ve been waiting to sell your home, this could be your year. Price growth has slowed, so now is the time to maximize your equity gains while minimizing your competition. Contact us for recommendations and to find out what your home could sell for in today’s market.
The best news we’ve got incoming for 2024? The extra-high mortgage rates that have weighed heavily on the real estate market may finally be headed south.
At its December meeting, the Fed signaled that the worst is likely behind us and that it expects to cut its overnight rate in 2024. Analysts predict that mortgage rates will fall in lockstep.5
“Given inflation continues to decelerate and the Federal Reserve Board’s current expectations that they will lower the federal funds target rate next year, we likely will see a gradual thawing of the housing market in the new year,” said Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist Sam Khater following the announcement.9
The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate has already declined from an October high of around 8%, and analysts at Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and Realtor.com all forecast that rates will trend down this year, ending 2024 closer to 6%.7
However, it’s not all good news: It appears that the days of 3% mortgage rates are firmly behind us. “As long as the economy continues to motor along, the new normal of higher rates is here to stay,” explains Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate.4 So, when it comes to a home loan, borrowers may need to adjust their expectations.
What does it mean for you?
If you’re a prospective home buyer, declining mortgage rates could give you the opportunity to lock in a more affordable monthly payment. And if you purchase before the market reheats, you could secure an especially good deal.
To find the lowest rate, it pays to compare lenders. Ask us to refer you to a mortgage broker who can help you shop around for the best option.
Sellers also have reason to celebrate buyers’ lower interest rates: As the barriers to entry to the housing market decline, they could enjoy more or better offers. Reach out to discuss how we can help you maximize your home’s sales potential.
Over the past couple of years, higher mortgage rates have cooled home buyer demand. They’ve also delayed the plans of many home sellers, who have been reluctant to trade in their current mortgages for loans that are several points higher.
With so many market participants playing the waiting game, the real estate sector has slowed significantly. National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun estimates that the number of existing home sales fell by 18% last year following a 17% decline in 2022.10
However, as financing costs tick down, sales volume is expected to rise. “Lower mortgage rates would help spur home sales activity, which [is] expected to increase in 2024 compared to 2023,” explains Selma Hepp, chief economist at CoreLogic. “Declines in mortgage rates will drive more sellers to trade their existing home and help add much-needed inventory to the market, leading to more transactions.”4
There’s also evidence that the patience of holdout home buyers may be waning, despite higher borrowing costs. A recent survey by Bank of America found that the number who are willing to wait for prices or mortgage rates to decline before making a purchase fell from 85% to 62% in just six months.11
“When it comes down to it, if buying a home is your goal and within your budget, the best time to buy is when you’re ready financially and you can find a home that fits your needs,” Matt Vernon, head of consumer lending at Bank of America, advised in a recent release. “Even in the current interest rate environment, there are clear benefits to purchasing a home and beginning to build equity.”11
What does it mean for you?
If you’ve been waiting to buy a home, you might want to consider purchasing before the competition picks up. Pent-up demand could bring a flood of buyers back into the market as mortgage rates decline. Contact us if you’re ready to begin your home search.
If you’re hoping to sell this year, you may also want to act fast. An increase in listings will make it harder for your home to stand out. We can help you chart the best course to maximize your profits, starting with a professional assessment of your home’s current market value. Reach out to schedule a free consultation.
What does it mean for you?Inventory remains tight, but buyers can benefit from the search expertise of a real estate professional. We can tap our extensive network to access off-market and pre-market listings while helping you explore both new construction and existing homes in our area. While sellers will continue to benefit from the low-inventory environment, they should be prepared to compete against brand-new homes. We can help you prep your property for the market and highlight the features most likely to appeal to today’s buyers.