If you’ve been waiting for the right time to become a homeowner, that time is now.
“We’re in a unique spot in the market right now,” says Scott Higashi, president and CEO of Locations. “A number of factors are coming together to create a real window of opportunity for homebuyers—even first-time homebuyers—in early 2019.”
Lower interest rates
The first factor, according to Higashi, is mortgage interest rates. Mortgage interest rates in February are the lowest they have been in a year, at about 4.35 percent. Because interest rates have a direct effect on the monthly mortgage payment, an increase or decrease in rates can make a difference in how much money a person can borrow. For example, the maximum home purchase price for a $3,000-a-month mortgage loan payment, can range from $564,000 (at a rate of 7 percent) to $785,000 (at a rate of 4 percent).
Today’s rates, compared to rates in the previous 30 years, are still historically low.
However, while interest rates do affect buying power, homebuyers should keep rates in perspective, Higashi cautions.
“Don’t assume that because rates have gone past a certain number that you can no longer afford to become a homeowner,” Higashi explains.
Stable median prices
The second factor is price. Oahu median housing prices have stabilized in recent months, and are likely to rise at a steady, but moderate, rate. Locations’ research suggests that median prices will rise by two percent for single-family homes and by one percent for condominiums this year.
The third factor is inventory. While inventory varies from neighborhood to neighborhood, overall available housing inventory is higher than it has been in several years—which means more choices for homebuyers.
“The best time to become a homeowner is as soon as you are able,” he adds. With stabilized housing prices, more homes to choose from and still historically low mortgage interest rates, house hunters who have been on the fence should act before the current window of opportunity closes.
The bottom line?
If you're looking to become a homeowner in 2019, you'll want to partner with a knowledgeable REALTOR® and mortgage lender, and be ready to act when you fnd the right home for you.
Because the real estate market in each neighborhood and building behaves differently, it’s also important to work with a REALTOR® who understands the nuances of each market, and has access to data specific to that market.
Locations has been tracking real estate data across Oahu’s hundreds of neighborhoods for more than 40 years. Start your new home search here.