Determining when to buy a home is a personal decision with many variables. Some may try to pinpoint the "perfect time" and end up waiting themselves out of the market, while prices and interest rates rise. Interest rates have been at historic lows for the past several years and are still historically low, despite some recent upticks.
If you're planning to buy soon, consider these factors that may motivate you to jump in now.
- Interest rates are still at historic lows. The 30-year fixed has been hovering around 4.5% for the past year; it did near the 5% mark briefly before dipping back down. (As of this writing, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed is 4.5%). Most experts expect them to go into the mid- to high-5% range by the year's end. So, don't delay.
- Prices are still rising but not soaring. If you're waiting for home prices to start coming down before you buy, it might be a long wait. Though they're not rocketing up as they have been for the past several years (in many markets), they are still rising steadily. To avoid being left behind, consider buying sooner rather than later.
3.2% – the home-price increase year over year, according to the Vivas forecast
5.3% – What Realtor.com anticipates the 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate to be by 2019's end
- Increases in entry-level inventory. There has been a shortage of homes in the U.S. since 2015, forcing some buyers to settle and others to be prohibited from buying at all. This will begin to turn around with the middle and upper-tier price points recovering first.
30% – The percentage of new-home construction dedicated to first-time homebuyers, up from 20%, where it has been hovering the past few years
628,000 – The number of new-home sales predicted by the National Association of Home Builders for 2019, about even with 2018
- Hot markets are expected to stabilize. According to the California Association of Realtors forecast, San Francisco and the surrounding area have been at peak levels for a long time. Those prices can't be sustained indefinitely, so they'll have to level off. Southern states such as Florida and Texas are expected to see improvement, especially with affordable, new construction.
- Begin building equity now. Since prices are still on the rise, it's advantageous to get in now. Then, as the value of your home increases, you have the opportunity to build equity.