It is clear that our Triad housing market is in recovery. Prices are slowly rising and inventories are shrinking. In fact just finding a suitable home is becoming difficult in some areas. At GreatNest, our sales volume has been up nicely each of the last two years. Personally, I'm very proud of that because we continue to outpace many of the other brokerages. That means we are gaining market share.
It is true that our Triad area housing recovery is lagging some other parts of the country where appreciation has flirted with double digits and low housing inventories have produced frequent and well-publicized bidding wars among buyers. But still, we've seen healthy, if not flashy, signs of appreciation make a return to many areas of the Triad and even witnessed bidding wars for the first time since 2008.
Home buyers fled the market when they saw hReal Estate Market Condition Greensboro | Housing Market Recoveryousing appreciation decline and then fall into negative territory. It makes perfect sense: nobody wants to invest in a depreciating asset; unless it's something shiny and fast like a new car. Housing is not shiny and fast, it is solid and predictable, and that's the problem. As long as home buyers could predict a fall in the value of the home they might buy - based on recent history - they were not going to buy.
It was snowball effect: declining values produced fewer buyers which produced declining values and so on. Finally, in 2012, enough economic confidence was present to give a green-light to a very specific group of home buyers: investors. They were the first to return to the market, often paying cash for homes, doing some renovation, then either renting them or selling them for a profit.
Slowly housing inventories began to decline . . . and the snow ball slowed, stopped, and reversed direction. Now, with continued declines in inventory, especially in high demand neighborhoods, and slightly increasing prices, home buyers - families in addition to investors - have returned to the market and we are approaching 'normal.'
There is continued good news on the mortgage side of the business as well. It is true that rates inched up a bit in 2013. Currently we are at about 4.4% for a 30 year fixed rate loan. Experts predict continued increases over the next year, probably plateauing near 5.4% by the end of the year. But at the same time, lenders have begun to relax some of the stringent underwriting standards that kept so many out of the market during the past few years. Today, borrowers with less money down, lower FICO scores and more debt are qualifying for mortgages they could not have just a few years ago.
If you are still on the fence about whether to buy that next home or not, now is the time to make your move. In the months to come, a strong housing recovery means that prices and mortgage rates will be higher . That equals less house for the dollar and a higher monthly payment. At GreatNest, we are expert at helping people find and purchase their dream homes. We are also expert at helping people sort through the financial aspects of home ownership so that they get the very best deal on the financing they'll need to complete a purchase. As always, you can find all of the homes currently listed for sale in the Triad MLS right here.