Housing market: Is now finally a good time to buy?

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – If you’ve been waiting to buy a house because you’ve wanted to sit out on the roller coaster ride market over the past three years, you may think now is a good time to buy since things have cooled. But there are still some things to consider moving into the spring/summer buying season.

First, the spring kickoff is somewhat lackluster compared to past seasons, and you may think that is good for a buyer, but Interest rates are a big factor in that. The federal reserve announced another interest rate hike last week as part of ongoing efforts to lower inflation, but there are fears of a recession. The baseline interest rate is in the 5.25% range. The national average interest rate right now for a 30-year mortgage is about 6.79%.

Making a decision to buy now could come down to three questions, according to bankrate.com. Do you have excellent credit? Do you have enough for a down payment? And are you planning to stay in the home for many years? If the answer to all three of those is yes, now might be a good time for you. If not, waiting might be a better way to go.

The market is still volatile. The National Association of Realtors is in the middle of its REALTORS Legislative Meetings. Dr. Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights, said every member is in a very different real estate market with some seeing double-digit gains while other markets are not seeing that at all, and inventory is at a 40-year low.

Also, NAR forecasts that mortgage rates will drop to 6.0% this year and 5.6% in 2024. It is expecting home sales to steadily improve in the upcoming months but will still come up short for the year. It’s expected that home sales will drop 9.3% in 2023 and then increase by 15.4% in 2024, but the median home price will be stable, meaning no big price drops. So if you are waiting for prices to significantly drop, that probably won’t happen but interest rates likely will.

In fact, NAR is predicting homes in the Midwest to increase slightly while homes in the West will see lower prices. In all though, the median new home price will be lower closing out 2023 by 1.9% to $449,100.

In the first quarter of 2023, the average monthly mortgage payment on a typical single-family home with a 20% down payment was about $1,859, up 33.1% from one year ago, but 5.5% down from the fourth quarter of last year. And looking at different markets across the U.S. there is another shift happening. According to NAR, home prices are lower in expensive markets and higher in affordable markets, such as the Mahoning and Shenango valleys.

April housing numbers in the Youngstown metro market show that most homes sold for the asking price. The market is still considered a seller’s market, which means there are more people looking to buy than there are homes available. The average time on the market is 46 days.

In Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties, new listings have fallen and but sale prices are up and down when comparing year to date and year to year.

National pending home sales decreased in March 2023, down by 5.2% from February. That’s the first decrease since November 2022, according to NAR.

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