The rising of mortgage rates at the end of 2016 is causing some would-be first-time homebuyers a little hesitation in house hunting this spring.
In October 2016, 55 percent of potential homebuyers were planning to make their first home purchase in the spring. This number has dropped to 44 percent this month, according to realtor.com®. The website reported that the average 30-year conforming rate rose .8 percent from September to December 2016, and would cost, on average, an extra $720 per year in interest.
“Last fall, we saw a large jump in the number of first timers planning home purchases, which was very encouraging because their market share is still well below pre-recession levels,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for realtor.com®. “But, as evidenced by their decline in share, first-time buyers are really dependent on financing and affordability is one of their largest barriers to home ownership. This number could continue to decline with anticipated increases in interest rates and home prices.”
While first-time buyers accounted for nearly one-third of buyers in November 2016, first-time buyers were almost five times more likely than repeat buyers to report that they struggled to qualify for a mortgage.
In addition to mortgage rates, the continued lack of inventory on the market is impacting would-be first-time homeowners. Inventory on realtor.com® in December 2016 was down 11 percent from December 2015. Another aspect of the low amount of inventory is that the cost of homes is still above average. In December 2016, homes on the market cost 9 percent more than they did in 2015.
Realtor.com® also reported that the average listing views saw an increase of 40 to 80 percent during the last few weeks in December 2016, compared to December 2015, as more buyers are striving to purchase the same homes.