Is the Housing Market Heating Up? Homeowners Rush to Sell as Mortgage Rates Drop!
The recent decrease in mortgage rates is beneficial for homebuyers because it makes homes more affordable. Additionally, this trend could encourage more homeowners to sell their properties.
Explaining the Mortgage Rate Lock-In Effect
The scarcity of homes on the market over the last year has been a challenge for those wanting to move. This situation arose largely because many homeowners postponed selling when mortgage rates increased. Freddie Mac's article sheds light on this, stating that the limited housing supply was partially due to the rate lock-in effect. Homeowners were reluctant to sell and face higher rates for their next home, preferring to retain their existing lower rates.
Staying Put: Homeowners and Higher Rates Many homeowners chose to stay in their current homes to maintain their lower mortgage rates instead of moving and facing higher rates.
Trend Reversal: Increased Home Listings
Data from Realtor.com indicates a rise in new home listings in December 2023 compared to the same month in 2022. This is notable since the housing market typically slows down towards the end of the year, with many waiting until January to sell. (see graph below):
This marks the first increase in end-of-year listings since 2020, suggesting a possible easing of the rate lock-in effect due to lower mortgage rates.
Implications for Homebuyers
While this won't lead to a sudden surge in available homes, it does suggest more sellers might list their properties. The Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) mentions that reduced interest rates could lessen the lock-in effect and boost homeowner mobility. As interest rates dropped significantly from October to November 2023, this could encourage more homeowners to sell, providing homebuyers with more options.
Falling mortgage rates might lead to more homeowners selling, offering potential homebuyers like you a better chance to find your desired home. It's beneficial to have a local expert to assist you in keeping track of the latest listings in your area.