This past year, rising mortgage rates have slowed the red-hot housing market. Over the past nine months, we’ve seen fewer homes sold than the previous month as home price growth has slowed. All of this is due to the fact that the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate has doubled this year, severely limiting homebuying power for consumers. And, this month, the average rate for financing a home briefly rose over 7% before coming back down into the high 6% range. But we’re starting to see a hint of what mortgage interest rates could look like next year.
Inflation Is the Enemy of Long-Term Interest Rates
As long as inflation is high, we’ll see higher mortgage rates. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen indications that inflation may be cooling, giving us a glimpse into what may happen in the future. The mortgage market is eagerly awaiting positive news on inflation. As Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zonda, says:
“The housing market is expected to face continued uncertainty heading into 2023 as consumers, financial markets, and policymakers work through their respective challenges in today’s economy. . . . we are watching for any additional stability in the MBS market, signs of cooling inflation, and/or less aggressive Federal Reserve action to give us confidence that mortgage rates are past their peak.”
What Does This Mean for the Future of Mortgage Rates?
As we get through the inflation battle and start to see that coming down, we should expect mortgage rates to follow. We’ve seen nods of this over the past couple of weeks. As the Federal Reserve works to bring inflation down, mortgage rates will come down as well. Bill McBride from Calculated Risk says:
“My current view is inflation will ease quicker than the Fed currently expects.”
As we look toward next year, we certainly hope he’s right.
Mortgage rates will come down – it’s just a matter of time. The hope is we continue to see more positive news on inflation, and that’ll bring mortgage rates down. This will give prospective homebuyers more buying power and lead to more homeowners throughout the country.
While higher mortgage rates are creating affordability challenges for homebuyers this year, there is some good news for those people still looking to buy a home.
As the market has cooled this year, some of the intensity buyers faced during the peak frenzy of the pandemic has cooled too. Here are just a few trends that may benefit you when you go to buy a home today.
1. More Homes To Choose from
During the pandemic, housing supply hit a record low at the same time buyer demand skyrocketed. This combination made it difficult to find a home because there just weren’t enough to meet buyer demand. According to Calculated Risk, the supply of homes for sale increased by 39.5% for the week ending October 28 compared to the same week last year.
Even though it’s still a sellers’ market and supply is still lower than more normal levels, you have more to choose from in your home search. That makes finding your dream home a bit less difficult.
2. Bidding Wars Have Eased
One of the top stories in real estate over the past two years was the intensity and frequency of bidding wars. But today, things are different. With more options, you’ll likely see less competition from other buyers looking for homes. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average number of offers on recently sold homes has declined. This September, the average was 2.5 offers per sale. In contrast, last September, the average was 3.7 offers per sale.
If you tried to buy a house over the past two years, you probably experienced the bidding war frenzy firsthand and may have been outbid on several homes along the way. Now you have a chance to jump back into the market and enjoy searching for a home with less competition.
3. More Negotiation Power
And when you have less competition, you also have more negotiating power as a buyer. 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 the latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the percentage of buyers waiving those contingencies is going down.
As a buyer, this is good news. The appraisal and the inspection give you important information about the value and condition of the home you’re buying. And if something turns up in the inspection, you have more power today to renegotiate with the seller.
A survey from realtor.com confirms more sellers are accepting offers that include contingencies today. According to that report, 95% of sellers said buyers requested a home inspection, and 67% negotiated with buyers on repairs as a result of the inspection findings.
While buyers still face challenges today, they’re not necessarily the same ones you may have been up against just a year or so ago. If you were outbid or had trouble finding a home in the past, now may be the moment you’ve been waiting for.
If you’re thinking about selling your house but wondering if buyers are still out there, know that there are still people who are searching for a home to buy today. And your house may be exactly what they’re looking for.
While the millennial generation has been dubbed the renter generation, that namesake may not be appropriate anymore. Millennials, the largest generation, are actually a significant driving force for buyer demand in the housing market today. Here’s why.
Millennial Homebuying Power
While there’s no denying higher mortgage rates are making it more challenging to afford a home today, many millennials are still eager and able to buy homes – whether it’s their first or they’re moving up. That’s in large part because of the value they place on education.
A recent article from First American says millennials may be the most educated generation in our nation’s history. Because of that, they tend to earn higher wages, and that translates to greater homebuying power. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, explains:
“In 2020, millennials with a bachelor’s degree had a median household income of over $100,000, while those with at least a graduate degree had a median household income of over $120,000. Compare those income levels with the median household income of millennials with just a high school degree (or some college) of $60,000 and the earning power benefits of higher education are undeniable. . . . Millennials’ pursuit of higher education is good news for the housing market. . . because education is the key to unlock both greater earning power and, in turn, homeownership.”
And since wages are one of the key things that factor into affordability when it comes to buying a home, these higher earnings can help millennials achieve their homeownership goals.
Millennials Continue To Be a Driving Force of Demand
A number of studies have looked into how the millennial generation views homeownership and how they’re uniquely positioned to define the housing market moving forward. As the largest generation, the volume of potential millennial homebuyers will have an impact on the market for years to come. As an article in Forbes explains:
“At about 80 million strong, millennials currently make up the largest share of homebuyers (43%) in the U.S., according to a recent National Association of Realtors (NAR) report. Simply due to their numbers and eagerness to become homeowners, this cohort is quite literally shaping the next frontier of the homebuying process. Once known as the ‘rent generation,’ millennials have proven to be savvy buyers who are quite nimble in their quest to own real estate. In fact, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say they are the key to the overall health and stability of the current housing industry.”
If you’re thinking of selling your house but are hesitant because you’re worried that buyer demand has disappeared in the face of higher mortgage rates, know that isn’t the case for everyone. While demand has eased this year, millennials are still looking for homes. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, says in an article:
“While not the frenzy of 2021, the largest living generation, the Millennials, will continue to age into their prime home-buying years, creating a demographic tailwind for the housing 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.
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.