Top 5 strategies to consider if you are buying a home in the current market
We wanted to put out some additional data before our November newsletter. The below chart shows how the supply of homes on the market in Greater Boston have been trending since April. As mortgage rates have increased, the real estate market has begun tilting towards providing buyers with more leverage.
Data representing single family, multifamily, and condos in Suffolk, Middlesex, and Norfolk counties from MLS
Since the Federal Reserve started to increase interest rates in the Spring, across the country, based on mortgage applications, buyer demand has decreased roughly 50%. Competitively speaking, this is great news for home buyers who remain in the buyer pool and not great for those who were pushed out.
In the Boston area, this decrease in demand has driven sellers to drop asking prices marginally by 3.4% while actual sale prices have been down roughly 8% in the same time. That means buyers are having success with negotiating on price. In parallel, in the same time period, the number of homes for sale to choose from are up nearly 45% and the days it’s taken them to sell them have increased as well. All of this means that active buyers should have more options to choose from.
Some folks in the industry believe that interest rates will continue to remain higher through 2023 and level off or come down in 2024.
To take advantage of the situation, we’ve outlined a few strategies that may give you even more edge in this market:
Negotiate on price: Sellers who need to sell will bend on price. Those who are not in urgent need to sell will rent their home out and hold through this tumultuous period. Always feel free to fairly negotiate on price, but before doing so understand the comparables that have sold in the recent months.
Buy Down Programs: If you intend to use a mortgage to buy your home, convince the seller to buy down your interest rate. For example, a ‘2-1 buy down’ program at Fairway Mortgage allows a buyer to reduce their interest rate by 2% in the first year and then 1% in the second year of holding that mortgage. This can help buyers lower the burden of higher mortgage payments in the initial years. It may also give them enough time for the market to settle and refinance in 2025.
Lock in your rate today without an accepted offer: If you fear the continued increase of interest rates, lock in your rate today for an extended period of time. For example, the ‘Lock Shop N Go!’ program at Fairway Mortgage for about .125%-.25% higher than current market rate allows you to lock in your rate for 90 days whether you have an accepted offer or not. If today’s rates are at 7%, but given Federal Reserve news, we know they may go to 8% in the next few months, the Lock Shop N Go! program should be appealing to you.
Focus on your ARMs: If the notion is that rates will decrease in years to come, then getting a shorter fixed term product may be best for you. Today, a 5, 7, or 10 year adjustable rate mortgage can be found in the mid 5’s which will be much lower vs. a 30 year fixed rate mortgage likely in the 6-7% range.
Take your time: Compared to last year, you now have a lot more options and time to pick your dream home. Keep an eye out and consider using the strategies above.
A perspective to consider, if you’ve struggled with competing offers in the last couple of years or simply do not want to compete, now could be a great time to take action. You will have great leverage when negotiating with a seller and little buyer competition. If rates are what’s holding you back, consider, ‘marrying your home and dating your rate’.
Should rates fall in the future, the ability to refinance is always on the table and on average costs <$2,000.
Rates stay the same, no harm done.
Rates keep rising and you’re glad you are locked in at today’s rate.
If you are at a life stage where buying a home right now would benefit you greatly, hopefully this perspective relieves some pressure and provides an alternate view.
As the market shifts towards more of a buyer’s market, more strategies will be uncovered. All of these strategies play on price, time, and interest rates, but the eventual goal is to come to an agreement that works for both you and the seller of a home.
Please reach out with any questions or comments! We would love to hear from you!
The Nuhom Team