Monday, 18 December 2023
by Earn Media
I’ve been sitting out on the sidelines of the housing market for a while now, waiting to see if conditions will improve — and I’m not alone. More than half of potential home buyers are waiting for lower mortgage interest rates or for housing prices to fall before they consider buying.
But Zillow economists think a shift is happening among homeowners that could change that market. The company’s 2024 housing market predictions report says that homeowners will get used to higher interest rates and be more willing to list their homes for sale.
Many current homeowners who want to move are waiting to do so because many of them scored historically low interest rates over the past few years. For example, an estimated 80% of mortgages have an interest rate below 5%. Zillow thinks some of these homeowners are getting tired of waiting for mortgage rates to fall and will list their houses for sale in 2024.
“Expect more homeowners who locked in long-term payments when rates were near all-time lows to list their homes for sale, as they grow weary of waiting for the historically low rates of 2021 to return,” the company said in its report.
The result could be improved housing affordability. The average transaction price for a home is $431,000, a massive 27.7% increase from just three years ago. But if more homes hit the market in 2024, prices could fall as home buyers have more options to choose from.
While Zillow is predicting homeowners will list their houses for sale no matter what rates do, additional relief for home buyers could be on the horizon.
Federal Reserve members kept interest rates the same in their latest meeting and indicated that three rate cuts could come in 2024. The federal funds rate is the highest it’s been in more than 22 years, and the higher rate has affected mortgage rates, which has added to affordability problems for potential buyers.
If the Federal Reserve cuts rates, then homes could potentially be more affordable. For example, a $350,000 home with an interest rate of 6.7% costs about $2,376 per month (assuming a 20% down payment). But the same home with an interest rate of 6% would be $127 cheaper per month.
And if more homeowners list their houses for sale, as Zillow expects, there could be more housing inventory and lower interest rates at the same time.
One of the best things you can do when buying a home is to shop around for the right lender. Every mortgage lender will have its own set of criteria for lending out money, and some may be able to offer you better terms — including a lower interest rate — than others.
But you won’t know unless you shop around. So take some time finding out which lenders will offer you the best deal. You can’t control how many homes are on the market or what interest rates will be when you buy, but you can shop around to ensure you’re not overpaying for your mortgage.
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The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.Chris Neiger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Zillow Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.