Is It a Good Time to Buy a House?
This question is one of the most common questions we see from consumers, investors, real estate agents, and many others with interest in the real estate market. The answer is ‘yes’. But it also depends on your specific situation, what’s important to you, and where you are financially.
The reason the question “is it a good time to buy a house” comes up frequently today is because interest rates have risen substantially year over year, making the monthly payment rise for many people considering a home purchase. With these higher payments, many are wondering if it’s a bad time to buy a home, but it’s important to remember that with increasing rates has come a softening market – meaning buyer’s today are seeing both lower median home prices and reduced competition, allowing for seller concessions that weren’t widely available during the market craze of 2020-2021. So while payments might be higher today, total price tags may also be lower, allowing buyers to keep more money in the bank at closing time.
The other consideration many people have when asking ‘is it a good time to buy a house’ is what will happen with home values in the future. The real estate crash of 2010 is still fresh in a lot of minds, but it’s important to look at the economics of today’s market and compare them to the crash to see what’s likely to happen in the coming months.
One of the important considerations is one of the foundational aspects of economics and pricing – supply & demand. If you consider the US population has continued to increase and believe that means more people will require housing, the next place to look for a clue on where home values will go is to housing supply.
In the image below you can see that housing supply is far below the supply of homes that was on the market in 2007 preceding the crash in home values. While low inventory isn’t a guarantee of home price growth, in terms of supply and demand, the lack of inventory for a growing population should provide some support for home values and continued appreciation, even if that appreciation is slower than the abnormally high appreciation rates home owners saw in 2020 and 2021. It’s also important to note that real estate is very local, and some markets have more inventory than others, along with varying populations, so examining these numbers in your local market is important!
So interest rates are up, but it appears home values have some support. Interest rates also ebb and flow, so while you should never buy a home based on the hope that your payment will eventually get cheaper, that possibility does exist! If rates dip, refinance possibilities may exist for home owners to reduce their monthly mortgage payment, but this is no guarantee – it would just be a cherry on top for today’s would be home buyers. As you can see below, home prices have historically climbed on a consistent basis outside of the great recession over a decade ago, and for that reason home ownership has been a key metric in helping Americans establish wealth and grow their net worth. For many, the alternative (renting) doesn’t offer that same level of financial security.
So while we’re a mortgage company and home ownership is in our interest (pun intended), a look at the data supports home ownership being a great idea for those who can afford their monthly payment, and those who have the financial stability to consistently make a mortgage payment. The lack of inventory nationwide is good support for home values, and rising rates have diminished some demand, giving buyers more power and control in the purchase process than they’ve had in recent years.