Real Estate: Update on Mortgage Interest Rates and the Local Market

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By JESS BARRON, Lindsey’s Inc. Realtors

If you read my article at the beginning of the year forecasting real estate for 2024, you might remember the importance of interest rates and how they affect the real estate market.

The Federal Reserve met in March and decided not to adjust the federal funds rate, the rate that lenders use to calculate the cost of borrowing.  The Central Bank has indicated they would lower this rate as many as three times this year. This has not happened yet. The Federal Reserve seems to be cautious, with high inflation factoring in their decision.

Meanwhile, mortgage rates have increased in 2024. As of April 22, 2024, mortgage rates for a 30-year fixed loan have increased to over seven percent. Mortgage rates were closer to six percent at the start of the year.

Despite the increase in mortgage rates, the real estate market in Coweta County has been consistent. I have seen an influx of buyers moving here for jobs, family, or to leave a big city. Other buyers and clients of mine are “moving up” from starter homes to larger homes for their growing families.

The number of listings in Coweta County has increased year over year, anywhere from nine percent to 19 percent per month in the first three months of the year (Georgia Multiple Listing System, GAMLS). The listing inventory is finally improving here.

Meanwhile, pending and closed sales numbers will be mixed starting in 2024. They have decreased as much as ten percent, year-over-year, in one month and are up as much as 26 percent in another month.

All predictions and signs point to mortgage rates trending down as soon as this spring. Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) chief economist, estimates that rates will hover between six percent and seven percent for the rest of the year. Fannie Mae, the Federal National Mortgage Association, predicts mortgage rates to be 6.4% at the end of the year (NAR). Fannie Mae also predicts existing-home sales to increase this year (NAR).

If you are thinking about buying or selling, the optimal time seems to be the next interest rate decrease or the second decrease. When this occurs, we should see a significant influx of more buyers entering the market. Historically, we have also had more home sales for higher prices between March and August of the calendar year.

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Jess Barron is an Associate Broker with Lindseys, Inc. Realtors and former President of the Newnan-Coweta Board of Realtors.

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