There’s been a lot of focus on higher mortgage rates and how they’re creating affordability challenges for today’s homebuyers. It’s true that rates climbed dramatically since the record-low we saw during the pandemic. But home affordability is based on more than just mortgage rates – it’s determined by a combination of mortgage rates, home prices, and wages.

Considering how each one of these factors is changing gives you the full picture of home affordability today. Here’s the latest.

1. Mortgage Rates

While mortgage rates are higher than they were a year ago, they’ve hovered primarily between 6% and 7% for nearly eight months now (see graph below):

As the graph shows, mortgage rates have experienced some volatility during that…

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The housing market’s been going through a lot of change lately, and there’s been uncertainty surrounding what will happen this spring. You may be wondering if more homes will go on the market, what’s next with home prices and mortgage rates, or what the best advice is for someone in your position right now.

Here’s what industry experts are saying right now about the spring housing market and what it means for you:

Selma Hepp, Chief Economist, CoreLogic:

We see more competition among buyers . . . Housing supply also tends to grow during the spring months. And this is also the time of year when relatively more migration happens, as people graduate and move elsewhere looking for jobs.”

Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst, Bankrate:

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If you’re buying a home this spring, today’s housing market can feel like a challenge. With so few homes on the market right now, plus higher mortgage rates, it’s essential to have a firm grasp on your homebuying budget. You’ll also need a sense of determination to find the right house and act quickly when you go to put in an offer. One thing you can do to help you prepare is to get pre-approved.

To understand why it’s such an important step, you need to know what pre-approval is. As part of the process, a lender looks at your finances to determine what they’d be willing to loan you. From there, your lender will give you a pre-approval letter to help you understand how much money you can borrow.

Freddie Mac explains it like this:

A…

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If you’re planning to buy a home, an inspection is an important step in the process. It assesses the condition of the home before you finalize the transaction. It’s also a different step in the process from an appraisal, which is a professional evaluation of the market value of the home you’d like to buy. In most cases, an appraisal is ordered by the lender to confirm or verify the value of the home prior to lending a buyer money for the purchase. Here’s the breakdown of each one and why they’re both important when buying a home.

Home Inspection

Here’s the key difference between an inspection and an appraisal. Bankrate says:

“In short, while an appraisal helps you understand a home’s value, inspections help you understand a home’s…

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Owning a home means having a place that’s solely your own and provides the space, features, and location you and your loved ones need. But what happens when your needs change? If this hits home for you, it may be time to make a move.

According to the latest Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average person has lived in their current house for ten years. If you’ve been in your home for a while, think about how much in your life has changed since you moved in. Even if you thought it would be your forever home when you bought it, it doesn’t have to be. Work with a local real estate agent to explore all your options in today’s market before settling for your current home.

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In the United States, there are over 72 million millennials. If you’re part of that generation and have thought about buying a home, you aren’t alone. According to Zonda, 98% of millennials want to become a homeowner at some point if they aren’t already. But why? There are plenty of reasons you may choose to become a homeowner. Here’s why other millennials have made that decision (see graph below):

This graph shows why millennials are buying homes according to Zonda’s 6th annual millennial survey. The top reasons include building equity, a change in life stage, wanting stability, rising home values, and wanting to make somewhere truly their own. Here’s a look at each in more detail.

Building equity – Homeownership is a long-term…

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As the housing market continues to change, you may be wondering where it’ll go from here. One factor you’re probably thinking about is home prices, which have come down a bit since they peaked last June. And you’ve likely heard something in the news or on social media about a price crash on the horizon. As a result, you may be holding off on buying a home until prices drop significantly. But that’s not the best strategy.

A recent survey from Zonda shows 53% of millennials are still renting right now because they’re waiting for home prices to come down. But here’s the thing: the most recent data shows that home prices appear to have bottomed out and are now on the rise again. Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, reports:

“U.S. home…

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Over the last year, the housing market’s gone through significant change. While it’s still a sellers’ market, homes that are priced right are selling, and they get the most attention from buyers right now. If you’re thinking of selling your house this spring, it’s important to lean on your expert real estate advisor when it comes to setting a list price. As Realtor.com explains:

“Move-in-ready homes with curb appeal and in desirable areas—and that are priced to sell—are especially likely to move quickly this spring.”

In today’s market, how you price your house will not only make a big difference to your bottom line, but to how quickly your house will sell.

Why Pricing Your House Right Matters

Your asking price sends a message to…

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MARKET UPDATE - MARCH 2023

Nationally, existing home sales jumped 14.5% month-over-month as of last measure, the first monthly gain in 12 months, and representing the largest monthly increase since July 2020, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). The sudden uptick in sales activity stems from contracts signed toward the beginning of the year, when mortgage rates dipped to the low 6% range, causing a surge in homebuyer activity. Pending sales have continued to improve heading into spring , increasing for the third consecutive month, according to NAR.

Monthly sales might have been even higher if not for limited inventory nationwide. At the current sales pace, there were just 2.6 months’ supply of existing homes at the beginning of…

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Have you been saving up to buy a home this year? If so, you know there are a variety of expenses involved – from your down payment to closing costs. But there’s good news – your tax refund can help you achieve your goals by paying for some of these expenses.

SmartAsset estimates the average American will receive a $1,798 tax refund this year. The map below provides a more detailed estimate by state:

According to Freddie Mac, there are multiple ways your refund check can help you as a homebuyer. If you’re getting a refund this year and thinking about buying a home, here are a few tips to keep:

  • Saving for a down payment – One of the largest barriers to homeownership is saving for a down payment. You could reach your savings goal more…

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