Home Buying Tips from the Experts
Normally at this time of year there is a bit of a lull in the real estate market. The prime home buying season has come and gone, and realtors are typically hard at work reviewing their remaining listings to determine whether to reprice them and/or expend additional marketing dollars in order to sell them by the end of the year.
However, this year is far from normal. With just days to go before the presidential election, the nation’s attention is riveted on the Presidential race. Yet, amidst all of the political and economic uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the election, there is one sector of the economy that continues purring along with near perfect conditions–the housing market.
Earlier this week, the latest Case-Shiller Housing Report showed that housing values have increased sharply–by an average of 5.3% since last year. Remarkably, none of the nation’s metropolitan markets have shown a year-over-year decline in property values. None!
While such a sizable increase in property values has barely raised an eyebrow in the press, there are several new housing trends to keep an eye on:
- More and more first-time homebuyers are entering the housing market. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), first-time homebuyers now comprise 35% of all purchase transactions, which is increasing the demand for a smaller and smaller number of homes that are on the market.
- Single women are buying homes in record numbers. The same NAR report showed that the percentage of single women purchasing homes continues to rise, and is now almost double the percentage of their single male counterparts.
- Spurred by rising apartment rents, the percentage of Millennials (age 18-35) who are buying homes has increased substantially to about 50%, according to Zillow.
Goldilocks herself would feel right at home with the near perfect economic conditions that are pushing property values higher across the country. However, given the high demand, experts advise that homebuyers should seek out the advice of an experienced realtor first. According to Tina Roe, a Missouri and Kansas licensed real estate agent with the Beginnings KC Team at RE/MAX Heritage in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, “In today’s market which currently favors sellers at several price points, the inventory is very low so it is important that buyers have all the information they need to make the right decision at the right time. Being educated by a knowledgeable agent and having a great lender is the first step in the right direction.”
Buyers Be Ready
Many economists are predicting that the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates in December, which only adds a sense of urgency for homebuyers to get something done before the end of the year. In addition, Roe recommends, “It’s important for buyers to have their pre-qualification letters ready to go. We encourage buyers to have a good understanding of their price point, the cash they will need to close, and what their overall payment would be for that loan. Then we can shop until we find that dream home and we have everything in place to make that happen.”