October went ahead and crept right up on us. As we enter the 4th quarter and the holidays approach, the housing market in our area continues to be quite the talking point, as noticed through multiple social media posts. Whether it’s discussing the lack of inventory, which drives prices, or the lack of inventory, which creates a higher demand for rentals, driving up rental rates, housing needs will not go away. Knowing what the market is doing and communicating with your local lender can help determine whether renting or buying is the right decision. And being able to make a down payment and pay closing costs are a huge factor in that decision.
But if you knew that those two things were “handled”, would you buy?
Whether you are looking to buy or sell a house in our area, here is some helpful data from Flex/MLS as provided by the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors:
The average sales price in September of this year was $519,000, up 5% compared to September sales of 2022. So, while we are watching the various media outlets tell us rates are high and buying has stalled, prices did not necessarily slow with it. We saw an increase in how many days a home was on the market versus last year, which is only differentiated by about a week and a half.
So, on average, a home for sale is only on the open market a little over a week longer and prices have increased. According to Investopedia, the average interest rate in September of last year was 7.04%; this year, the average for a 30-year fixed rate was 7.83%. The difference in rate is nothing to sneeze at, but with rates both in the 7s and prices steadily increasing, did buying last year make sense? Or does that mean buying this year makes sense because we may be having the same conversation this time next year?
I’ll refer to the beginning of this article and bring back up your local lender. Just because a piece you are reading shows you average interest rates does not mean that is the exact rate you WILL get. Your local lender’s ability to look at your application and work with their products may have different answers for you.
Various programs with down payment assistance and sellers willing to pay closing costs make buying more realistic you might think. Don’t forget that if rates go down, you can refinance and reduce your mortgage rate. But, if you purchase and rates increase, you have already locked in that lower rate.
Are you interested in digging more into the Niceville and Valparaiso real estate and rental markets? Reach out to your Realtor® and your lender.
I promise they will be happy to share with you what they are seeing, and will provide you with insight into buying versus renting and selling your home versus renting out your home.
Even with expert advice, no one can time the market perfectly. One last thought: if rates do drop, we could see an influx of buyers, which could only further drive up prices, and we go back to multiple competing offers.
*All 2023 data is provided by Flex/MLS as provided by Emerald Coast Association of Realtors and is deemed reliable as of October 3, 2023, but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified.
John Sallman is the owner/broker at Salt and Light Realty in Niceville. He has years of experience in the Niceville real estate market and is ready to help you with your buying, selling, renting or investment property needs.