If you’re planning to buy a home this year, one of the first steps on your journey is getting pre-approved. Especially in today’s market when mortgage rates are higher than they were just a few months ago, getting a mortgage pre-approval can be a game changer. Here’s why.
What Is Pre-Approval?
To better understand why pre-approval is key, it’s important to know what pre-approval is. The Mortgage Reports explains it like this:
“When you’re ready to take the leap into homeownership, your first step is mortgage preapproval. . . . A mortgage preapproval is when a lender determines you’re qualified for a home loan. Your preapproval letter shows the maximum loan amount you’re approved for (your home buying budget), as well as the specific interest rate and loan term you can expect.”
As part of the pre-approval process, a lender will look at your finances to determine what they’d be willing to loan you. From there, your lender will give you a pre-approval letter to help you understand your true price range and how much money you can borrow. That can make it easier when you set out to search for homes because you’ll know your overall numbers. And with mortgage rates rising and impacting affordability, a solid understanding of your numbers is even more important.
Pre-Approval Can Signal You’re a Serious Buyer
Another added benefit is that pre-approval lets the seller know you’re qualified to buy their house. A recent article from realtor.com notes:
". . . getting pre-approved can actually improve your chances of falling into the sellers’ good graces, and you’ll want to get it done as early as you possibly can in the home-buying process."
Even though bidding wars are easing this year as the market shifts, preapproval is still an important part of making a strong offer. It can help a seller feel more confident because it shows you’re serious about their home and that you’re a qualified buyer.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is critical. It helps you better understand what you can borrow and shows sellers you’re serious about purchasing their home. Connect with a local real estate professional and a trusted lender so you have the tools you need to succeed as a homebuyer in today’s market.
Over the past two years, the substantial imbalance of low housing supply and high buyer demand pushed home sales and buyer competition to new heights. But this year, things are shifting as supply and demand reach an inflection point.
The graph below helps tell the story of just how different things are today.
This year, buyer demand has eased as higher mortgage rates and mounting economic uncertainty moderated the market. This slowdown in demand is clear when you look at the red bar on the graph. It uses the latest data from ShowingTime to illustrate how showings (an indicator of buyer demand) have softened by just over 12% compared to the same time last year.
Now for a look at how housing supply has changed, turn to the green bar. It uses data from realtor.com to show active listings are up nearly 27% compared to last year. That’s because the moderation of demand allowed housing inventory to increase in 2022.
What Does This Inflection Point Mean for Buyers?
If you’re thinking of buying a home, you’ll have less competition and more options than you would have had last year. Enjoy having more homes to choose from in your home search and lean on a trusted real estate professional to understand how the increase in supply has also increased your negotiation power. That professional can talk you through the opportunities and challenges buyers face in today’s shifting market. You may be surprised to find they’re different than they were a year ago.
What Does This Inflection Point Mean for Sellers?
If you’re looking to sell your house, know that inventory is still low overall. That means, if you work with an agent to price your house based on current market value, it will still sell despite the inventory gains and moderating buyer demand this year. That’s because there are still buyers out there who want to move, and your house may be exactly what they’re looking for.
If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, the best place to turn to for information on today's supply and demand is a trusted real estate professional. Let’s connect so you know what’s happening in our local market and what that means for you.
Does the latest news about the housing market have you questioning your plans to sell your home? If so, perspective is key. Here are some of the ways a trusted real estate professional can explain the shift that’s happening today and why it’s still a sellers’ market even during the cooldown.
Fewer Homes for Sale than Pre-Pandemic
While the supply of homes available for sale has increased this year compared to last, we’re still nowhere near what’s considered a balanced market. A recent article from Calculated Risk helps put this year’s increased inventory into context (see graph below):
It shows supply this year has surpassed 2021 levels by over 30%. But the further back you look, the more you’ll understand the big picture. Compared to 2020, we’re just barely above the level of inventory we saw then. And if you go all the way back to 2019, the last normal year in real estate, we’re roughly 40% below the housing supply we had at that time.
Why does this matter to you?
When inventory is low, there is still demand for your house because there just aren’t enough homes available for sale.
Homes Are Still Selling Faster Than More Normal Years
And while homes aren’t selling as quickly as they did a few months ago, the average number of days on the market is still well below pre-pandemic norms – in large part because inventory is so low. The graph below uses data from the Realtors’ Confidence Index by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to illustrate this trend:
As the graph shows, the pre-pandemic numbers (shown in blue) are higher than the numbers we saw during the pandemic (shown in green). That’s because the average days on the market started to decrease as homes sold at record pace during the pandemic. Most recently, due to the cooldown in the housing market, the average days on the market have started to tick back up slightly (shown in orange) but are still far below the pre-pandemic norm.
What does this mean for you?
While it may not be as fast as it was a couple of months ago, homes are still selling much faster than they did in more normal, pre-pandemic years. And if you price it right, your home could still go under contract quickly.
Buyer Demand Has Moderated and Is Now in Line with More Typical Years
Buyer demand has softened this year in response to rising mortgage rates. But again, perspective is key. Getting 3-5 offers like sellers did during the pandemic isn’t the norm. The graph below uses data from NAR going back to 2018 to help tell the story of this shift over time (see graph below):
Prior to the pandemic, it was typical for homes sold to see roughly 2-2.5 offers (shown in blue). As the market heated up during the pandemic, the average number of offers skyrocketed as record-low mortgage rates drove up demand (shown in green). But most recently, the number of offers on homes sold today (shown in orange) has started to return to pre-pandemic levels as the market cools from the frenzy.
What’s the takeaway for you?
Buyer demand has moderated from the pandemic peak, but it hasn’t disappeared. The buyers are still out there, and if you price your house at current market value, you’ll still be able sell your house today.
If you have questions about selling your house in today’s housing market, let’s connect. That way you have context around what’s happening now, so you’re up to date on what you can expect when you’re ready to move.
Today’s cooling housing market, the rise in mortgage rates, and mounting economic concerns have some people questioning: should I still buy a home this year? While it’s true this year has unique challenges for homebuyers, it’s important to factor the long-term benefits of homeownership into your decision.
Consider this: if you know people who bought a home 5, 10, or even 30 years ago, you’re probably going to have a hard time finding someone who regrets their decision. Why is that? The reason is tied to how you gain equity and wealth as home values grow with time.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:
“Home equity gains are built up through price appreciation and by paying off the mortgage through principal payments.”
Here’s a look at how just the home price appreciation piece can really add up over the years.
Home Price Growth Over Time
Even though home price appreciation has moderated this year, home values have still increased significantly in recent years. The map below uses data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to show just how noteworthy those gains have been over the last five years.
If you look at the percent change in home prices, you can see home prices grew on average by almost 64% nationwide over that period.
That means a home’s value can increase substantially in a short time. And if you expand that time frame even more, the benefit of homeownership and the drastic gains you stand to make become even clearer (see map below):
The second map shows, nationwide, home prices appreciated by an average of over 290% over roughly a thirty-year span.
While home price growth varies by state and local area, the nationwide average tells you the typical homeowner who bought a house thirty years ago saw their home almost triple in value over that time. This is why homeowners who bought their homes years ago are still happy with their decision.
Even if home price appreciation eases as the market cools this year, experts say home prices are still expected to appreciate nationally in 2023. That means, in most markets, your home should grow in value over the next year even if the pace is slower than it was during the peak market frenzy when prices skyrocketed.
The alternative to buying a home is renting, and rental prices have been climbing for decades. So why rent and fight annual lease hikes for no long-term financial benefit? Instead, consider buying a home. It’s an investment in your future that could set you up for long-term gains.
Don’t let the shifting market delay your dreams. Data shows home values typically appreciate over time, and that gives your net worth a nice boost. If you’re ready to start your journey to homeownership, let’s connect today.
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 our area, let’s connect today.