It’s already March — not the official start of spring, but close enough to at least get us thinking about it. In many areas of the country spring marks the beginning of a new home buying season.
As we head into March, mortgage rates are flat, after falling slightly to the mid 4’s. But that seems to have been enough to stir some potential homebuyers into action a little ahead of the actual spring equinox. If you don’t adjust for the season, week-over-week purchase money applications ticked up and were better than this week last year by about 3%.
While the change is not a huge increase in mortgage volume — and was driven by news of rates that are at 12-month lows — it is a fair indicator that spring might just bring us a fairly pleasant home buying season. Home prices appear to be manageable for buyers with the drop in rates. reasonable sellers in most areas should be able to get what they expect for their homes, and it seems like there might be just enough supply to meet demand without things getting too crazy. All combined, that would not be a bad thing. While it’s always nice to hope that March comes in like a “lamb” and goes out like a “lion” as far as mortgages and home sales go, this year it might be best if that doesn’t happen.
We appear to be in a good place for the time being. We are in that good place because a couple things came together to get us there.
- Rates came down
- Home price increases slowed
- It became more seasonal from a psychological perspective for buyers and sellers
But staying in that good place a while requires that rates stay flat, inventory reasonably meets demand, and nothing gets too crazy. We are in a good place strictly by chance. Not the best time to go charging into the lions den.