Thinking About Buying a Home in the Region? Now Is a Great Time to Act
buying-a-home | Read Time: 3 minutes
By Jeffrey M. Ruben | Published: March 2022
Over the past two years, people throughout the region—and the country—have decided to move to areas that better fit their work arrangements, lifestyle preferences, and many more reasons.
As we enter the traditional “spring homebuying season,” a few trends are beginning to emerge that suggest now is a great time to get into (or back into) a new home search.
Interest Rates Are Rising
While mortgage interest rates are not directly tied to the Federal Reserve rates, they have risen in recent months and are expected to eventually exceed pre-pandemic levels. This may have some potential homebuyers deciding to temporarily sit on the sidelines after previously missing out on homes when we had record-low rates and there was an inventory crunch.
But they may not be planning to sit out for the long haul. A new WSFS Mortgage survey found that 40% of Greater Philadelphia and Delaware residents who plan to buy a home in the near future plan to do so within the next three years.
If you’ve been wanting to start or reignite a home search, it is still an attractive time to be a borrower. But if you wait too long and mortgage rates continue to rise, you’ll end up paying more for the same home later that you could see less competition for right now.
To help curb the impact of rising rates, there are many programs, especially for first-time homebuyers, that can help you secure your dream home.
Inventory May Begin to Improve
While existing home inventory has been a major issue for potential buyers, there are signs that there may be more sellers on the horizon.
The WSFS Mortgage survey found that rising home prices may motivate sellers, with 25% of respondents who currently own a home saying they are more likely to consider selling due to their home’s increased value.
This is good news for potential homebuyers, but those looking in the suburbs are still going to have to be very diligent in getting their pre-approvals and widening their search. The survey found that 57% of potential homebuyers want to find a home in the suburbs, and 60% of those who do plan to in the next year.
However, if you have flexibility in where you can or want to live, there may be opportunities in other areas in the region, as only 18% of potential buyers indicated they would look in larger towns or cities and 16% would look to buy in rural areas.
If you like an active, urban lifestyle with walkability to entertainment, dining and other activities, or prefer a more tranquil location with a larger property, you may be in luck.
Having a Backup Plan is Crucial
If you are looking for a new home, whether in the suburbs or elsewhere, and are also selling your current home, timing could be especially tricky because chances are, you will sell your home before winning a bid for a new one.
If you are a renter, your landlord may only be able to give you so much leeway if your home search is prolonged, as the rental market is also highly competitive.
In either scenario, speak with family or friends about temporary arrangements in the event you need to move out of your current residence before you can move into your new home.
About the Author – Jeffrey M. Ruben
Jeffrey M. Ruben, President, WSFS Mortgage, joined WSFS through its acquisition of Array Financial, a full-service mortgage banking organization, and Arrow Land Transfer in August 2013. Jeff formed Array and Arrow in 2005, having previously held senior executive roles at financial and legal institutions.
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