Voices    Business, Lifestyle

A new normal: notes from a local real estate professional

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Can we expect interest rates to fall below 3% this year?

Honestly, I don’t think so…below 3% is almost unheard of. When the COVID-19 virus first came out we saw a two-day period where interest rates were very, very low. That was an abnormality. Since then they have leveled off and are still very good. We are seeing a number of people refinancing. A mortgage professional at Towne Mortgage of the Carolinas can advise you and help you determine if refinancing is a good option for you.

Will the possibility of a recession bring down housing costs?

Differently than 2008, this is not a real estate lead recession. The market was off about 30% in April versus the same month last year, however we have had five straight years of year over year growth in real estate in our area. A recent survey done by Attom Data Solutions saw that in the Triangle, we are among the least vulnerable to be impacted by the pandemic.  We are still seeing corporations move their employees into the area at a high rate and there is still a very high demand for housing.

When do you think housing costs will be at their lowest?

While the market is slowing down a little bit this month compared to the previous year, house prices are not dropping. The number of homes for sale has continued to remain low in relation to demand. Demand remains strong due to the amount of people moving to the area. Coupled with the number of people who have moved to the area over the past year that were living in temporary housing or rental properties while they got settled to the area, we are seeing prices stay strong.

Should I wait to buy a house if costs are expected to go down?

No, now is the time to buy in this market. The one thing we are missing under the current conditions is the “tire kicker” buyers, those who already own a home and are just casually looking at houses. We have seen a small decrease in those folks, but the demand for housing is still very, very strong!

If I’ve purchased a home in the last 12 months, should I refinance?

Yes, with rates going down over the past year it could make sense to look at refinancing.  Your best bet is to contact a mortgage professional to look into this for you.

When is a good time to list my home? Is anyone buying right now or would it be better to rent my property? 

No, now is the best time to list in this market. We are still seeing strong demand for housing and interest rates are extremely low!  We are seeing heavier than normal traffic on our website looking at homes across all price categories.  We have experienced a housing shortage over the past couple of years, so there are still people looking to move out of their short term housing.

How can I tour homes currently on the market, in light of social distancing + stay-at-home orders?

Agents are doing a great job of creating virtual tours for listed homes. You can find a complete list of homes on the market with virtual tours at HPW.com/virtual.

What advice do you have for first-time homebuyers? Is it too difficult to purchase a home right now?

Now is the best time to buy! Interest rates are low and agents are ready to help. In addition to virtual tours, local professionals have implemented safety precautions during the entire transaction from secure wiring of funds to drive by closings with attorneys. Agents are trained with your safety in mind!

Voices contribution by Matt Horton, Marketing Director
Coldwell Banker — Howard, Perry, and Walston