Southern States Double Down On Affordable Inventory

The South has lost its sparkle for American movers in the post-pandemic world, but that could change as the region doubles down on producing affordable inventory. More than half of all available inventory in April 2024 was concentrated in Southern states, according to an analysis by Realtor.com.  They also boasted the most new listings at 19.7%. In contrast, inventory rose by just 7.5% in the West and 2.9% in the Northeast. The Midwest came in a close second at 18.4%. “Sellers continued to list homes at a greater rate than last year. This has led to a promising increase in more affordable homes for sale, especially in the South,” Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale said. Florida metros saw the most…

Midwest, Northeast Markets Continue To Dominate

Markets in the Northeast and Midwest once again dominated the list of hottest markets for the year. In a ranking produced by the Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com, Rockford, Illinois took first place for 2024. The ranking considered affordability, cost of living, and the city’s overall attractiveness. Rockford has homes under $250,000 within commuting distance of three major metros, giving residents access to big city amenities without the price tag. Towns in Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, Maine, Tennessee, and New Hampshire rounded out the top ten, all for their affordability. Despite their popularity pushing prices up, the average listing price among the top 20 markets was $60,000 lower than the national median last month. The report also noted that the…

Mortgage Rates Move Up Just Barely

Mortgage rates were basically stagnant last week, staying put in the upper-6% range yet again. Officials at Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.82%, up just slightly from the week prior’s 6.79%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.28%. The 15-year fixed rate also fell from 6.11% to 6.06%. A year ago, it averaged 5.64%.  This week’s data reinforces that rates have stabilized in the 6%’s for the moment. “Since the start of 2024, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has not reached 7% but has not dropped below 6.6% either,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “While incoming economic signals indicate lower rates of inflation, we do not expect rates will decrease…

February Brought More Affordable Listings To The Market

As sellers are forced to adjust to the housing market’s new normal, more affordable inventory is cropping up.  The share of available homes in the $200,000 to $350,000 price range saw the biggest growth of any price category in February, up 20.6% YOY, Realtor.com reported. Though inventory remains tight, money-minded buyers may see an uptick in affordable homes as they shop this spring. Inventory overall saw a boost last month, with the number of homes actively for sale on a typical day up 14.8% from last year. This is the fourth straight month of annual inventory growth. “The first couple of months of 2024 have proven to be positive for inventory levels, as the number of homes actively for sale…

First-Time Buyers To Influence Top Housing Markets In 2024

First-time buyers are clinging to the dream of homeownership despite ongoing market challenges, creating opportunities for relatively affordable markets to explode in 2024. That’s according to Realtor.com’s 2024 Top Housing Markets forecast, which identifies ten metros primed for increased home sales and listing prices in the new year. The top markets, listed in order from number one, are Toledo, OH; Oxnard, CA; Rochester, NY; San Diego CA; Riverside, CA; Bakersfield, CA; Springfield, MA; Worcester, MA; Grand Rapids, MI; and Los Angeles, CA. “Now that we’re seeing the beginning of an affordability turnaround, homebuyers are still looking for markets where they can capitalize on lower prices,” said Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “Even in some of the more expensive markets, we’ll see…

Rates Fall For Fifth Week, Down To 7.22%

Mortgage rates slipped for a fifth consecutive week, spurring a boost in purchase activity. Officials at Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 7.22%, down from the week prior’s 7.29%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.49%. The 15-year fixed rate fell to 6.56%% from 6.67%. A year ago, it averaged 5.76%. “Market sentiment has significantly shifted over the last month, leading to a continued decline in mortgage rates. The current trajectory of rates is an encouraging development for potential homebuyers, with purchase application activity recently rising to the same level as mid-September when rates were similar to today’s levels,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. Purchase applications increased by 5% last…

Will The Housing Market Recover In 2024? Probably Not.

As 2023 nears its end, with mortgage rates slowing to the mid-7%s but home prices at record highs, the question on housing analysts’ minds is: Will 2024 be any better? For the most part, experts see a mixed bag coming next year, predicting the beginning of a turnaround that won’t fully flower until 2025. Realtor.com’s 2024 Housing Forcast suggests mortgage rates will moderate and ultimately average 6.8%, hitting 6.5% at year-end, while home prices ease slightly by 1.7%. But the company also predicts worsening inventory shortages as homebuyers cling to their current homes to keep their sub-5% rates. Still, Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com, emphasizes the bright sides of softening unaffordability. “Our 2024 housing forecast reveals the green shoots…

Survey: Only 3 In 10 Veterans Know About Zero Down Payment Benefit

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Veterans are encouraged to learn more about their home loan benefits after a national survey found that a majority of former service members do not know they are eligible for a zero-down payment plan. According to information from Realtor.com, just three out of 10 veterans know they can use their VA benefits to buy a home with no money down. That statistic comes from a survey conducted last month. “VA home loans offer many benefits, especially at times like this when affordability is such a major factor in home purchase decisions. Yet only a small portion of eligible veterans are tapping into the financial benefits they deserve for their service,” Damian Eales, CEO at Realtor.com, said in…

Commutes Influencing Homebuyer Decisions

Scores of workers are being called back to their offices after more than three years of working remotely, influencing homebuyers’ choices as commutes are reintroduced to their lives. The typical American commute is 26.4 minutes long, according to a new analysis by LendingTree. Based on median hourly earnings of $30.80, commuting costs $27.10 a day in lost time — or $5,724.56 a year. Losses associated with commuting go beyond working time, according to LendingTree chief credit analyst Matt Schulz. Gas, parking, car maintenance, child care, and the toll on the mind and body add to the overall stresses of a workday involving travel. Price-wise, the typical commute costs nearly 50 cents a mile when total expenses are added together. “The…

Sellers Are Slashing Prices In These Ten Metros

Home prices are up but in some metros, sellers are slashing prices. Of the largest 150 U.S. metros, only 29 saw a YOY increase in price reductions, with only 15.5% of all homes listed on Realtor.com getting a price cut in July, according to data from the website. While that’s bad news for home shoppers everywhere else, buyers in those metros can benefit even when locking in a high interest rate. The top five metros for price cuts are Huntsville, AL; Lafayette, LA; McAllen, TX; Jackson, MS; and Augusta, GA. Rounding out the top ten are Memphis, TN; Fort Collins, CO; Cape Coral, FL; Greenville, SC; and Fort Wayne, IN. Realtor.com limited the list to one metro per state for…