Recap of Real Estate Market Late 2023
Interest rates were the major real estate story for the housing market news of Colorado Springs in 2023. Spoiled for more than a decade by rates under four percent, rising interest rates since early 2022 sent shock waves through the real estate industry for the past year and a half. Historically, rates averaged just under eight percent since 1971, so recent consumers were lulled with the almost-free money that was available. Topping out this year around eight percent, rates had a dramatic impact on a borrower’s ability to purchase a home.
Fannie Mae recently did a survey showing twenty-three percent of consumers think prices will fall over the next twelve months. There are few economists who agree. KCM published the following: The Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES) from Pulsenomics is a great resource to show what experts forecast for home prices over a five-year period. It includes projections from over a hundred economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts, all of whom project a rise for the next five years . . . . In this example, let’s say you bought a $400,000 home at the beginning of this year. If you factor in the forecast from the HPES, you could potentially accumulate more than $71,000 in household wealth over the next five years.
July Housing Market News
Like most of 2023, the average sales price of a home rose in the early summer. The rise was more normal at just over one percent, not like “the unicorn years” (greatly desired but almost impossible to find) of late 2020 to early 2022. Homes stayed on the market, on average, for three weeks, not selling in two or three days as they did earlier in the decade. Houses still were selling for full asking price, but fewer people were listing their homes, down almost thirty percent from last year. Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) are again popular, but unlike 2008, a borrower has to be able to qualify for the loan.
August Housing Market News
July sales were the only time in the latter part of 2023 that home prices decreased from last year. Prices lowered a little over two percent from the previous year, and homes stayed on the market about three weeks. Listings picked up over thirty percent from last year, but that’s typical for the season. Sold price held steady at almost full list price. Mortgage applications were at a twenty-eight-year low.
September Housing Market News
Homes prices rose almost three percent from the same period last year, and days-on-market rose to almost four weeks before a listing sold. Much of that was due to Buyer caution with rising interest rates which were about 7.5%. Homes still sold, on average, for full asking price. New listings were down over twenty-two percent from the previous year, and there were less than a thousand houses sold in the month of August 2023 in El Paso County.
October Housing Market News
Homes prices continued to rise at a more reasonable rate of three-and-a-half percent from the same period in 2022. Houses averaged five weeks on the market from listing to sale, but were still selling at almost full asking price. New listings coming on the market were down almost seventeen percent, and there were only about nine-hundred houses sold in El Paso County in September 2023.
November Housing Market News
There was a sharp uptick of home prices in October from the previous year. And even though homes sold for almost full price, it was now averaging a month-and-a-half on the market before contract. New listings coming on the market in October were down about eleven percent from the previous year, and the number of homes sold was down over twenty-five percent to only seven hundred forty two sold in October 2023 in El Paso County. Interest rates were almost eight percent, accounting for the dramatic slowdown in sales.
December Housing Market News
While interest rates came down slightly in November, there was still an increase in home prices from the previous year of over three percent. Homes were selling in about five weeks after being listed, but the number of homes sold continued to drop almost twenty-one percent to just under six hundred fifty units sold. Interest rates came down slightly to under seven and a half percent, but continue to fall. Inventory of homes for sale was at near-historically lows.
Over the past month, rates have improved enough that they are making an impact on December sales. The Feds are expected to cut rates as early as March. As long as inflation doesn’t go up, we have probably seen the worst of higher interest rates. According to Christine Angely of Zenith Home Loans, mortgage applications are up almost three percent, with refinancing fourteen percent higher than previous reports.
It is a great time to buy or sell a home with the lower rates, seller concessions still available, and less competition.
Should I Refinance My Mortgage?
It is a burning question among people who got in at the height of interest rates. While lenders are anxious to take your money for a refinance, do not be tempted to pull the trigger too early. From Zenith Home Loans:
- Cost of a refinance (non-Zenith client) ~ $4,500 (low estimate)
- There are a lot of lenders who don’t mind refinancing someone every 6 months, meanwhile eating up their client’s equity each time by rolling in the fees
- Zenith family gets lifetime no-cost refinancing!
- Monthly cost savings of lower rate ~ $150/month
- Recoup time ~ 30 months or 2.5 years before they actually see a cost savings because of the cost of the refinance!
- If lower rates are available again in 6 months, they’ll want to refinance again, spend that money again, and waste what they spent on the first refinance while never recouping the cost of the first refinance.
- Home values! Loan-to-value plays a role in refinancing! For VA clients, CHFA clients, etc. – this is a very important thing to look at with a refinance and it may not be time yet.
Should I Buy a House Now or Wait Until 2024?
NOW. It’s still a Seller’s Market, so a price decline just can’t happen. According to KCM, ” ‘There’s just generally not enough supply,’ says Mark Fleming, chief economist at title insurer First American Financial Corporation. ‘There are more people than housing inventory. It’s Econ 101.’
Dave Liniger, the founder of real estate brokerage RE/MAX, says the sharp rise in mortgage rates has skewed the market. Many would-be buyers have been waiting for rates to drop — but if mortgage rates do decline, then new buyers could flood into the market, pushing up home prices. We’re in this fascinating position of tremendous demand and too little inventory. When interest rates come down, it’ll be another boom-and-bust cycle’ “
People tell me often, “I’m going to wait until prices drop.” As you can see from the above statistics, prices will not come down. Interest rates will decline over the next few years, but then home prices will go up. Much better to secure a price now, build equity, and refinance later. You’re in a more favorable position with a lower price and higher interest rate than climbing prices and lower interest rate.
Waiting until prices come down is “a fool’s errand,” Shark Tank investor and real-estate legend Barbara Corcoran says. “You’re much better off buying something now when you can,” Corcoran said. “Because if you don’t have a chit in the game, and you continue to be a tenant and wait the market out — which many people are thinking right now they should be doing — they’re dead wrong.” Mortgage rates, too, have been sliding on the market’s conviction that the Fed is pivoting to cut rates soon. The 30-year fixed rate has tumbled to 7.03% from 8% in October.
Is Now a Good Time to Buy a House?
Corcoran’s advice echoed her previous warnings about home prices back in August when she said, “All hell’s going to break loose” once the Fed cuts rates and mortgages get cheaper. “If you have any way of getting cash together and getting into the market and buying a house and getting out of a rental, which is tempting to keep because it’s a little cheaper, don’t do it,” she said. “Buy yourself a house.”
Similarly, a Bank of America executive told Business Insider recently that trying to time the housing market by waiting for lower rates wasn’t a good idea.
“It’s really when you’re financially ready, emotionally ready, and, ultimately, you find that home that fits your dreams and/or your needs,” said Matt Vernon, the bank’s head of consumer lending.
Bottom line? Now is a great time to buy a house. If you’re ready and able, get in touch with an expert. Mimi Foster has decades of experience in the housing market in the Colorado Springs area. There is no obligation or pressure to find out what your home might be worth in the current market. Call, text, or email.