NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The spring ’22 housing market is crushing middle-class buyers with many pinching pennies in an effort to afford a single-family home.
Zillow predicts annual home price growth to continue rising through the rest of spring, peaking around 22% nationwide in May before gradually slowing through next year.
Though not all agree with that figure, the prediction shows we remain in a very hot real estate market — an unwelcomed sign for those hoping to purchase their first home — now dealing with buyer fatigue, wondering if it’s even possible.
Whatsmore, time is ticking for buyers hoping to get into the market as mortgage rates slowly rise.
“The reality is that the cash buyers and those that put down the largest amounts are the people most likely to win in a competitive situation,” said Jeff Checko, a realtor with The Ashton Group of RE/MAX Advantage. “Look, people have to take a disciplined approach to saving. That’s the bottom line.”
If you want a home, of course, it’s important to save, but with rents hovering around $1,800, how is that possible?
“Tight hinges swing big doors,” Checko said. “FHA loans are the lowest amounts down now and you can put down as little as 3.5%.”
Let’s say you’re looking at a $400,000 house. If you plan to put 3.5% down on that home, you’d need to put $500 away every month for two years to come up with $14,000.
“There’s a down payment of course but the amount you qualify for is basically your income versus your debt,” Checko said.
While it’s important to save, it’s equally important to pay off any outstanding debt.
“If you can pay some of those credit card debts and save that money to put down, I’d say right now at least 10% of the purchase price to be able to compete,” Kate Goeringer said, with Brick Realty. “The seller’s not necessarily going to be concerned if you can put 15%, versus 10, versus 20… I would say get as much loan from the bank as you can to use your cash in order to entice the seller to pick your offer.”
Goeringer went on to say that you can use your extra cash to cover an appraisal gap.
“We know list prices these days are really your starting bid so you may have to make that up on the back end,” Goeringer said.
In addition, if you don’t have the cash to spend, there are programs out there that will charge you a small fee to turn your current into a cash offer, giving buyers a chance to compete with other cash offers.
Of course, the more you put down, the better, but there are various loan types and down payment assistance programs that one could use.
Most importantly, there’s hope for the future.
“The hope is that as interest rates rise both the short term and mortgage basis we see a little more playing field and people making lesser down payments can be more competitive,” Checko said.