Despite economists’ earlier predictions that interest rates would continue to climb in 2019, there is some good news for home buyers: Lower mortgage rates, rising inventory and slower home-price growth indicate this could be a solid spring buying season.
Mortgage rates unexpectedly started falling at the beginning of the year, bringing more buyers into the market. In an interview with HousingWire.com earlier this month, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors®, said that six months ago he thought mortgage rates might hit 6% this year, but now he’s calling for rates to remain in the 4% to 4.5% range in 2019.
The inventory increases in recent months indicate more homeowners are putting their properties up for sale, according to an April 1 article on Kiplinger.com, which reported total inventory in the U.S. was up 3.2% in February from a year earlier.
Yun predicts strong demand this spring for houses near or below the U.S. median price of $250,000 because of low mortgage rates and the good jobs market. However, he anticipates reduced demand for homes priced above $750,000, mainly because of tax code changes that took effect over a year ago.
All in all, the housing market appears to be heating up this spring.
As a buyer, of course, you can’t control factors that could affect interest rates, but here are a few things you can control that will determine the rate a lender gives you on your mortgage:
Down payment. If you can afford a higher down payment, you likely will get a lower interest rate because you’re reducing the lender’s risk.
Credit rating. Review your credit score. A sound financial track record of repaying debts and a solid credit score may help you lock in a loan at a lower interest rate. Seeking a mortgage pre-approval may also benefit you in this competitive selling environment.
Debt-to-income (DTI). The percentage of your debt payments to your monthly income can also play a role. The lower your DTI, the better. To lower your DTI, try to pay off the debt with the highest monthly payment.
Stick with your budget. Keep in mind your housing priorities, preferences and desired locations when searching, and always remember your budget. Don’t get caught up in a bidding war and price yourself higher than you can afford.
Selecting an experienced local agent who can guide you through the entire process is invaluable. If you are considering listing your property or looking for your dream home this spring, get started by contacting me today. I am here to help you make the right housing decision based your you goals and dreams.