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Buyers Struggle to Find Affordability in the Current Housing Market

By Catherine Tims | November 8, 2023

The current housing market is one of the most challenging in recent memory for buyers. Home prices have surged to record highs, while interest rates have also increased. This has made it difficult for many buyers to afford a home, and there’s not much evidence that things will get better any time soon.

Prices Are Up, and So Are Mortgage Rates

The news isn’t great for homebuyers right now. According to a recent CNBC article, the  National Association of Realtors (NAR) says the median existing home price in the United States reached $413,800 in September 2023. This is up 8.4% from a year ago. At the same time, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has risen to 7.19%, according to Freddie Mac. These high prices and interest rates have made it difficult for many buyers to qualify for a mortgage. According to the NAR, the percentage of buyers who put 20% or more down on their home purchases fell to 30% in September 2023. This is down from 41% in September 2022. 

As a result, some buyers are turning to adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) in an effort to make their monthly payments more affordable. ARMs have lower initial interest rates than fixed-rate mortgages, but their rates can adjust over time. This means that buyers could end up paying more in interest over the life of their loan. Even so, demand for ARMs jumped nearly 10% in September 2023. This is the highest level of demand for ARMs since 2007.

What’s Behind the Difficulties?

It’s a bit of a perfect storm in the real estate industry at the moment that has led us to the situation as it stands. Here are some of the reasons why buyers are struggling to find affordability in the current housing market:

  • Low supply of homes: There is a need for more homes for sale in the United States. This is due to a number of factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain disruptions. Additionally, many home owners simply aren’t selling right now because of economic uncertainty staying their hand.
  • High demand for homes: Demand for homes is high due to a number of factors, including millennials entering the housing market. This combines with the low supply to drive prices for homes up into the stratosphere.
  • Inflation: Inflation is at a 40-year high. This is making it more difficult for buyers to afford a down payment and monthly mortgage payments as buying power gets slowly but surely eroded in the longer term.
  • Rising interest rates: Interest rates have been rising in recent months, thanks to the US Federal Reserve’s attempts to curb runaway inflation. This is making it more expensive to borrow money to buy a home.

What’s a Buyer to Do?

If you are struggling to afford a home in the current market, don't give up. There are still ways to find a home that you can afford. The current housing market is challenging for buyers, but there are some things that you can do to improve their chances of success. Here are a few tips:

  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage: This will show sellers that you are a serious buyer and that you are qualified to borrow money.
  • Be flexible with your budget and location: If you are flexible with your budget and location, you will have more options to choose from.
  • Work with a buyer's agent: A buyer's agent can help you find homes that meet your needs and budget.
  • Be prepared to act quickly: The housing market is moving fast, so it is essential to be prepared to act quickly when you find a home that you like.
Realty Biz News Contributor at Realty Biz News
Catherine covers a broad spectrum of niches: personal finance, mortgages, travel, housing, internet marketing, network marketing, marketing, and business. Catherine is a Realty Biz News Contributor
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