According to the most recent national real estate statistics, both buyers and sellers have reason to be excited for the busy spring season. Mortgage rates fell in the first quarter of 2019 to rates not seen since 2012. According to bankrate.com, the average 30-year mortgage rate dropped to 4.1 percent in March and settled in at around 4.29 percent in April, down from 5.1 percent as recently as November 2018. According to Bill Banfield, executive vice president of Capital Markets for Quicken Loans, “This drop in rates is going to give the housing marking a boost. It could help people come back into the market and consider buying a home.” For those buyers who were priced-out of buying property in 2018, the change in mortgage rates translates into real money that could make the difference between renting and owning. Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate.com, points out that on a $200,000 mortgage, the monthly payment would drop by $120 a month with a 4.1 interest rate, essentially giving buyers one month’s mortgage payment free each year.
While buyers surely will find new hope in the spring selling season, sellers should also be optimistic. The latest data from realtor.com shows that the median national home price has reached $300,000, a 7 percent year-over-year increase. Danielle Hale, realtor.com’s chief economist notes this development: “The typical U.S. home list price has set a new high right on the cusp of the spring home-buying season, and despite a slowing growth rate, home prices will likely continue to set new records later this year.” One factor in record breaking home prices is the disparity between homes listed for $750,000-plus and those listed at or below $200,000. Homes in the upper price range increased 11 percent in just one year, while homes in the lower price tier fell 9 percent. Another factor driving rising home prices is the continued lack of inventory. While March saw a 4 percent jump in new real estate listings, this gradual increase is slower than in years past. All of this is great news for sellers, who have the potential to see a healthy return on a property sale in a market that isn’t flooded with inventory.