With rising interest rates eating at the real estate market, and rising inflation eating into the purse strings of the average consumer, many potential homeowners may be wary of entering the market at this time.
However, the AJT’s panel of local real estate experts are here to temper your hesitation. The experts agree that interest rates are falling and will likely continue to do so, making the local real estate market that much more appealing.
Read on to hear what the local realtors have to say about current market conditions.
Jon Shapiro, The Jon Shapiro Group
“I’m in my 34th year of business and this is definitely one of the more challenging markets I have navigated my clients through. We are dealing with the trifecta of ongoing low inventory, high interest rates comparatively to recent years and home prices that are up about 20 percent over the past couple of years. Home prices are remaining fairly steady and are even up about 5 percent over the past year.
“We are about 46,000 housing units short on the market to what would be a balanced market between buyers and sellers. [Next year] is predicted to be a stronger market as interest rates are coming down a bit from the high of 8 percent to more in the low 7’s. It is honestly a great time to buy as inventory is coming up and rates are coming down but as the rates come down further, the demand will be higher, and the prices will go up to reflect more demand.
“You’ve seen this as recently as 18 months ago with the lines coming out of the doors of homes with prospective buyers wanting a chance to bid. Buyers are seeing creative loan options, including adjustable rate loans products. It is much better to pay a higher rate and get the home you want at a lower price. You can always refinance as terms become more favorable to do so.
“The analysts are telling us that the nation is standing on the largest volume of homebuyers in U.S. history and 2025 is supposed to be a record real estate buying year. One factor that will help increase inventory is that 68 percent of homeowners have over 50 percent equity in their homes. Thirty-nine percent own their home outright. The significance of this is that many homeowners will not give up their low interest rate even if they want to move. Over 95 percent of homeowners with a loan have under 3.5 percent interest rates. The 68 percent referenced are in a strong cash position to put down a large down payment or pay cash on a new home when they move. When a large down payment is made, the higher interest rate is less of a deterrent.”
Notably, “65 percent of millennials want to own a home. First time average buying age is up to 35. The millennials buying is important as they start the chain reaction of the move up buyer.
“There is no shortage of people interested in real estate, some are hesitant as they are not sure how to navigate this market. I have to say now more than ever seek out a professional to help you navigate this process whether you are selling or buying. It is definitely a professional’s market and mistakes can be costly.”
To reach Jon, visit The Jon Shapiro Group at 240 Sandy Springs Place, Atlanta.
Robin Blass, Harry Norman Perimeter
“Dunwoody is a hot market! Overall, the real estate market in Dunwoody is currently a seller’s market, with homes selling quickly and at high prices. However, the number of homes sold in October 2023 was down from the previous month, indicating a shift in favor of buyers.
“Homes priced over one million are becoming more in favor of the buyer where below that sellers are still winning with the average sales price being $636,000.
“You would think the problem would be around buyers, but we need more homes on the market. With all the companies moving to Atlanta and right here in Dunwoody, the need is very high for homes. Secondly, sellers need to have homes prepared for the market, buyers are wanting move-in ready homes.
“This is a great time to buy a home, even with interest rates floating higher than they have been. It is better than throwing away your money in rent and not growing a longtime investment.”
To reach Robin, call 770-394-2131, email Robin.Blass@HarryNorman.com, or visit the office at 4848 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Atlanta.
Jodi Fink Halpert, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
“Life is a journey full of surprises, often prompting us to buy or sell a house due to significant life events like welcoming a new family member, retirement, or adjusting to an empty nest. These changes are a constant, driving the need to move, despite today’s challenging housing market characterized by high mortgage rates and escalating home prices.
“The National Association of Realtors (NAR) highlights that such life milestones have been particularly prevalent over the past two years, influencing people’s decisions to move. Claire Trapasso, Executive News Editor at Realtor.com, notes that today’s buyers, facing a tough market with high mortgage rates, elevated home prices, and limited inventory, are primarily motivated by these significant life changes.
“In navigating these life transitions, partnering with a real estate professional can be invaluable, whether you’re buying or selling a home.”
When buying a home: For those needing more space due to family expansion, despite the challenges posed by higher home prices and mortgage rates, a skilled real estate agent can be a game-changer. Their expertise and local market knowledge can significantly streamline your home search. They understand your specific needs and budget, helping you find suitable options efficiently.
When selling a house: For individuals retiring or undergoing separation or divorce, maximizing the investment in your current home is crucial. A real estate agent’s expertise is vital here, too. They can accurately evaluate your home’s market value, suggest improvements to increase its appeal, and develop a strategic marketing plan. Their negotiation skills ensure you get a fair price, facilitating a smooth transition to your next life chapter.
Bottom line: If recent life events have prompted you to consider moving, connecting with a real estate expert can help you navigate this significant decision.
“Regardless of your situation, a trusted real estate professional can guide you through the process of buying or selling a home, offering support and expertise.”
To reach Jodi, call 404-513-5151 or visit www.jodihalpert.com.
Rachael Blatt, Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty
“Real estate trends and cycles have become a daily topic of the economic news these past few years. COVID led to changes in working from home, telecommuting, Zoom meetings vs. travel, and buyers needing more space and more home offices in today’s transitioning world. As a realtor in our Greater Atlanta Metropolitan area, I am often asked my opinion on our residential housing market and what I am personally seeing in the market. Will rising interest rates cool our positively trending sales? Are buyers nervous with our average sales price constantly increasing?
“Atlanta is a unique city. Our economy is not solely based on one specialty or industry. Our world-renowned airport constantly brings new businesses and clients relocating to this ever-growing Southern star of a city. Between the numerous Fortune 500 companies headquartered here to the ever-growing film industry, there are always buyers and sellers looking to move all over our city in all different price points.
“Rising interest rates affect home sales even in Atlanta but so do job relocations, clients needing more space, families needing new school districts or even clients downsizing to meet their current smaller household needs. In Atlanta, per our First Multiple List Service (FMLS), our average detached residential home sale price grew 6.9 percent comparing October 2023 to October 2022. And new listings for that same period are down 0.9 percent for the Atlanta area — meaning even in a rising interest rate market our sales are continuing to grow in Atlanta which can be attributed to both our strong economy as a city and our limited supply of homes.
“So, what do I tell my buyers and sellers? My trusted group of referral clients that I am ever grateful to when they ask me is this the time to buy or sell their house? My answer is yes. Mortgage rates saw the largest one week drop in early November 2023 that has occurred in the past year. Total mortgage applications rose 2.5 percent for that same week per the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index.
“As the rates continue to adjust and we begin to enter our Spring market in early 2024, the demand will increase substantially as will the competition for our limited inventory of homes. In 1971, our average interest rate for a mortgage was 7.33 percent which is very similar to our current rates of 2023. As a buyer, if you waited for interest rates to go down to purchase your home then you would have had to wait until 1993. This would equate to 22 years of paying rent while the value of that same home quadrupled and you lost out on home equity gains.
“As we say in real estate this year, don’t wait. Find your perfect home. Make your house dreams become your reality whether it’s your first home or your tenth! Try out all those fun HGTV projects you have been saving. And remember… marry the house and date the rate.”
To reach Rachael, call 404-285-9059, email email@example.com or visit the office at 1555 Peachtree St., Suite 100, Atlanta.