The real estate market is such a hot topic. Tune into the nightly news, pull up an online article, or just walk into your local coffee shop. Everyone is constantly talking about interest rates and whether or not right now is a good time to buy or sell. Look at this blog post, you got me talking about it! The reason it is so interesting and has people so passionate on both sides of the argument is because simply put, purchasing and selling real estate though it should be a business transaction, is extremely personal.
I get asked by a lot of people whether or not I think right now is a good time to buy or sell. My answer is likely not what you’d think. This is because I cannot truly answer the question hypothetically or arbitrarily. Yes, I want everyone out there buying and selling. Why? Because if you’re not buying or selling real estate I don’t have a job. But buying or selling is solely dependent on the individual. Why are you interested in buying or selling? Are you relocating for work? Are you looking to downsize or upgrade? Are you needing more space because your family is growing? There are so many factors at play that the answer is going to be different for every person.
The real estate market in general is hyper local. Not just by state, or city, but as specific as by town and neighborhood. Generally speaking, our area and what we refer to as “the Triangle” (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill) is pretty insolated from nationwide trends. Our area is still growing, people are moving here, so the market is still relatively healthy compared to a lot of other places in the Country. If you’re watching national news and thinking you’re getting good advice about what is going on with rates and the real estate market in our area, you’re not.
What I will say is that if you need to move in the next 1-3 years, do it now. If you don’t, then wait and see what happens with market values and interest rates. You may be better off, you may not be. But that’s a gamble you can make. If your move is based on needs, and not wants, the reason I say do it now is because rates will change and very likely go down, values will not. We refer to this as “marry the house, date the rate.” It’s basic supply and demand economics. When there is less competition in the market like there is now when rates are higher than they’ve been the last few years, (though remember they are average if we’re looking at them historically) home values are staying pretty steady. Once competition comes back, meaning rates go down and everyone who has been waiting to buy or sell jumps into the market, values will increase because people will start paying more for the home to win.
Think about it logically and I’ll give you an example. Two couples in similar situations are in the market to buy. One is deciding to do it now, and one is waiting. A house in a very desirable neighborhood is currently on the market for $400,000. Both couples qualified for a loan and were quoted an interest rate based on their credit and debt to income of 6.875%. Because there’s not a lot of people out there shopping, the first couple is able to be the sole offer on the home, went in at asking price, and went under contract and bought the home for $400,000. Rates have now dropped 6 months later and both couples are now qualified for a loan at 5%. Couple one who purchased at $400,000 refinances and lowers their monthly payment by a few hundred dollars and are very pleased that they got their dream home for $400,000. Couple two now is in the market to buy, but so is everyone else. A similar home to couple one in the same desirable neighborhood is now listed for $430,000, and with multiple offers, couple two wins the bidding war and buys said home for $475,000. They also got the 5% interest rate, but needed to borrow more money than couple one, and paid more for basically the same home while couple one is sitting pretty enjoying their instant equity.
The moral of the story is look at your situation. Don’t just read news articles and get hyped up by fear mongering. Do your research. Look at your financial situation and your wants and needs. If buying or selling is something you NEED to do, it is not something to fear. Talk to your trusted real estate agent and lender. If you don’t have one, I can refer you to some outstanding ones. It’s important to focus on your situation and be educated. And with that, you can rest easy.