Where Did the Buyers Go?

By
Mortgage and Lending with Mortgages in AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, MD, MN, MT, NC, NJ, NV, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI NMLS #138061 MMCD #1141

Where Did the Buyers Go?

 

My team is fortunate enough to work with some phenomenal real estate agents.  I'd argue we've been privileged to work with some of the very best in the country, and certainly some of the best in given markets.  And while most real estate is extremely local, one common phenomenon we're seeing nationwide is the "disappearance" of buyers.

Well, buyers haven't "disappeared", but the feasibility of buying has disappeared for many as a result of the current market.  Just this week, the Case-Shiller home value index was released for April, pointing to a continuation of immense home appreciation - 20%+ nationwide, with a 2.1% monthly increase (% varies locally, these are national numbers).  At the same time, interest rates on mortgages have continued to climb, now sitting in the high 5-low 6% range for most mortgage products, even higher for others.

At the same time, we see rents skyrocketing nationwide, creating a major dilemma for potential home buyers.  They know (because we scream it from the mountain top) that buying is a smarter move long term, but despite insane rent increases, they also see lower up front price tags for renting.  A small security deposit VS a larger down payment.  A monthly payment lower than a mortgage payment that includes taxes, insurance, potentially PMI, and upkeep costs.  The graphic below illustrates the $1500/month difference in savings rent offers VS buying, and the nearly half million dollar longer term advantage of buying.

As rates have increased, they've had a large effect on buying power, and for buyers who haven't seen wages increase, it has pushed some folks to the sideline, especially considering the cost of everything else (gas, groceries) has increased to eat into monthly budgets as well.  So while home values climb, buying power has reduced what buyers can qualify for, or what they can comfortably afford.

So what do we do?

Well, it's important to first figure if buyers can qualify AND have a mortgage payment that fits within their budget?  If the answer is 'no' to the latter, it may make more sense to wait than to enter a potentially tumultuous financial situation with no true guarantee of future savings (yes, we expect rates to drop when inflation gets reigned in and we enter a recession, but we don't know exactly when or exactly how much).  Waiting is, of course, not a good financial move long term, but it may be a necessity for now.  In these cases, we wait, we keep in touch, and we offer the best guidance we can.

For those who can qualify , AND, even with higher rates, can obtain a mortgage payment that fits within a budget, we need to educate people on the long term benefits of home ownership, and the fact that it is very likely rates will dip - historically, low inflation and periods of recession see mortgage rates decline, so people that can buy should see both home appreciation and an opportunity to reduce their monthly burden in the semi-near future.

Home ownership is still a key to building wealth for most Americans.  Buying is still an immensely better financial move than renting, especially long term but in many cases even short term (for ownership > 24 months).  But the current market is seeing costs spike drastically in housing with the rate and home appreciation bumps, so buyers aren't sure what to do.  Some can do nothing, and others need proper guidance.

The buyers are still there.  There's still not enough inventory to supply them all with homes.  But education is needed.  Not catchy marketing - real expertise, knowledge of the markets, and insights into the data that shows the true benefits (and potential downsides) of home ownership, so buyers can understand, plan, and execute.  They need to understand that their current rate isn't their forever-rate.  They need to understand that what they currently qualify for may not be their dream home, but it's a smart financial step toward their dream home.

Many buyers are on the sideline trying to sort this out, or looking to the (always negative) media for guidance.  It's up to us to provide the relevant info and show buyers that yes, now is still the time to buy.

 

Posted by

John Meussner
NMLS ID #138061

It's more than a house - it's home.  So we offer a wide range of mortgage products at competitive prices to help our clients achieve financial security at home.  While we get great feedback on our prices and products, many clients say their favorite part of working with John Meussner & MasonMac is the level of service provided along the way.

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Comments (18)

Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello John - the "numbers" of people moving are in constant change as markets ebb, flow and reflect other factors.  Perception plays a part.  And so does attitude.  And adaptability.  

Jun 29, 2022 05:34 PM
John Meussner

Yes indeed, perception is a reality for many!

Jun 30, 2022 11:23 AM
Dave Halpern
Dave Halpern Real Estate Agent, Inc., Louisville, KY (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert

The market needs willing and able buyers. There are a vast number of willing buyers who have become unable to buy.

The war on oil caused gasoline prices to more than double.

Spiking gas prices and mismanagement of the supply chain have caused brutal inflation. 

The FED is dramatically increasing interest rates to combat the inflation caused by the self-inflicted rise in gas prices. 

This triple whammy calamity combines to strip huge sums of money from the monthly budget of many potential buyers, rendering them unable to buy.

Jun 29, 2022 06:48 PM
John Meussner

Thanks for your insight Dave!

Jun 30, 2022 11:23 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Great post, John... I can't say I've seen my own buyers "disappear" and for that I'm grateful. But I do have to spend a lot of time explaining that they not wait for home prices to fall back... that's not happening any time soon (if ever). They simply won't accelerate as quickly as they have been and meantime interest rates will also go up and rents are going up like mad. 

Jun 30, 2022 04:58 AM
John Meussner

I still think buying is a GREAT opportunity, but lots of people have decided to stay on the sidelines for a bit, hopefully they understand they're missing out : )

Jun 30, 2022 11:22 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Carol Williams good morning, Carol... finally! I'm back and I'm recommend a post for your Second Chance Saturday... namely, this one!

Jun 30, 2022 04:59 AM
John Meussner

Thank you Nina : )

Jun 30, 2022 11:21 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

My buyer business is way down this year.  Some of the buyers I had last year just got fed up with constantly losing in the multiple offer wars--and now, they don't want to pay the higher rates.  So many buyers have interest rate shock. Just over 5% isn't a horrible rate but the issue is the rate has gone up so quickly, buyers know that the payment they would have had 4 months ago is now much more, so they have to buy less house. They are frustrated.

Jun 30, 2022 07:57 AM
John Meussner

Yes it's been a frustrating 24+ months for buyers for many reasons - hoping toward the end of this year we have some more inventory and the market balances out for the first time in years!

Jun 30, 2022 11:15 AM
M.C. Dwyer
Melody Russell Team at eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Aha!    Congratulations!     You've passed a million blogging points, and this is another winner I'd like to re-post with gratitude.😎

Jun 30, 2022 09:13 AM
John Meussner

Thank you M.C. Dwyer - much appreciated : )

Jun 30, 2022 11:15 AM
Elyse Berman, PA
Best Connections Realty, Inc. - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824

I've had many frustrated buyers who are waiting.  Some got disgusted by what they saw at the open houses, the way things were handled with waiving inspections, having to have offers in in 20 minutes.   I can't say I blame them one bit.

Jun 30, 2022 11:21 AM
John Meussner

Couldn't agree more - despite the market, no one should be expected to make such a big decision so quickly, there are better ways to handle it in my opinion, BUT you can't blame a seller for accepting a crazy offer with no contingencies.  It's been a rough few months!

Jun 30, 2022 01:51 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

John I have a number of Borrowers, but with our inventory here in CT being so low, not many of their offers are being accepted.

Jun 30, 2022 01:16 PM
John Meussner

We're still seeing that play out in some markets, with things easing up in some others.

Jun 30, 2022 01:51 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

They will be back as far as I know and I will be here when they come back

Jun 30, 2022 06:01 PM
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
Carolina Life RealEstate & Relocation 919-602-8489

Great information John! I do think some people have been polarized by the news and the rate increases. And of course some have been pushed out of the market due to rate increases and home price increases.

It seems there are people who don't know what to do and they're waiting to see. My thought is that if you can buy, now is a great time because of the people on the side line for whatever reason. Like you said, there's still a housing shortage. It isn't going to go away that easily. 

Jul 01, 2022 06:18 AM
John Meussner

Couldn't agree more - until/unless supply catches up, pricing will increase.  Rates are already beginning to lower some and give some relief, I expect the end of the year we'll see lower rates and thus more buyer demand.

Jul 01, 2022 09:33 AM
Sharon Miller
RE/MAX Platinum - Crane Hill, AL

John,

I want to compliment you on a very well written post. One would have to be illiterate not to understand the long-term ramifications of renting versus a purchase, which you explained with much detail.

In my area of sales (waterfront properties) we're experiencing a similar mindset among many potential buyers. We have some interested parties who perceive seller's as now "desperate" and therefore, these potential buyers want to "low-ball" any and all properties under consideration. As you pointed out, home valuations continue to climb as inventory in many areas of our country is almost non-existent! What seems to be a common concern with many waterfront property buyers, they expect every and any property to be in "like new" condition. Most are not familiar with the price variable between lake property and a home in the suburbs. We often get an "eye roll" when we explain, "if those issues you have noted with this property were resolved, the asking price for this property would be $175K higher."

Moving forward, with today's real estate environment, I experience a vast majority of buyers, who remain ill-prepared when it comes to comprehending present day market conditions. I would surmise the same holds true as it relates to present day consumer mortgage lending particulars? The public is in for a shock, as over the next twelve to eighteen month's, consumer economic conditions, will continue to undergo a substantial "remake". Potential home buyers who choose to remain in a "bubble" will be in for a surprise as the costs for everything will grow exponentially. 

A word of advice for those contemplating a home purchase.......the time to react is NOW!!!

Jul 01, 2022 08:03 AM
John Meussner

Thanks for the awesome feedback Sharon - a waterfront niche is always an interesting one, because people can be naive.  They imagine waterside meals, recreation, and peace, but also don't realize water nearby can make a home tougher to manage, and leave them with some water related issues as you note - - expectations need to align with economics!

Jul 01, 2022 09:35 AM
Jason Potrzeba
Webster Bank - Providence, RI
Mortgage Banking Officer

Well said John! You can always refi the rate but you cannot go back 2 years and buy your home for 50k less.

Jul 01, 2022 08:44 AM
John Meussner

100% correct!  Thanks for the comment Jason!

Jul 01, 2022 09:36 AM
Stephen Turner
House Broker Realty - York, PA
The BIG Guy of NEW HOME SALES

Thanks for the post. Yes, it's about educating buyers on the fundamentals of home ownership and the benefits. Honestly, we are moving from a crazy record-setting seller's market to a normal market.

Jul 01, 2022 09:09 AM
John Meussner

Yes we are, and it's not quite normal yet! 

Jul 01, 2022 09:36 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

John- congratulations on this very feature=worthy post as well as zooming past the 1,000,000 mark.  You've offered excellent information for all of us. It's so important now to as you said to drop the catchy marketing and strive to educate your sellers and buyers. Give them the professional service you say you have!!! Well done. 

Jul 02, 2022 04:49 PM
John Meussner

Thank you Kathy!  Educating people on the broader markets is huge in helping them make the right financial decisions.

Jul 05, 2022 09:53 AM
Kimo Jarrett
Cyber Properties - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Interest rates are temporary, it depends on the circumstances that cause opportunities with reasons to prudently adapt. Why not buy if qualified and pay up to .50 points or more in interest. Now, with inflation, an average mortgage of $500k would likely see a minimum $40k appreciation during the first year, so, isn't it prudent to buy and when interest rates recede, simply refinance with extraordinary appreciation in equity. So, it makes sense to buy now rather than wait, if it pencils out, don't you agree? 

Jul 04, 2022 11:00 PM
John Meussner

I sure do agree.  The appreciation (in most markets - that's important, I do think certain markets have seen maybe not a bubble, but too much craziness to sustain current values) and net tangible wealth gains should more than offset payment differences.  That said, the big question we're seeing, is even if people can see the financial benefits long term, can they afford it and manage short term?

Jul 05, 2022 09:55 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

In our markets rents are greatly increasing, so buyers seem to hanging in there at the increased rates 

Jul 05, 2022 11:24 AM
John Meussner

That's one of the reasons buying is still so prudent, rents are going up and going up fast!

Jul 05, 2022 11:31 AM
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

Rents have gone crazy in my market. I think the issue is...where will young people live? Will we have a generation of people living in tents like Los Angeles? 

Jul 07, 2022 06:30 AM
John Meussner

Frankly, if the jobs can't support rent and housing payments, young people need to stop flocking to the cities they can't afford to live in.  BUT, many young people live with roommates or family or a similar arrangement.  My first few years in Orange County I lived in a nice apartment complex, but had a roommate even in my 30s so that I wouldn't be house-poor.  Many of my friends did the same.

Jul 08, 2022 03:04 PM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
MOOERS REALTY - Houlton, ME
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Not all real estate markets work the same nor can be sized up with a one size broad brush statement like "buyers are disappearing". Not the case, especially in markets where house mortgages are not $3500 a month and not $650,000 size mortgages. 

Jul 07, 2022 06:11 PM
John Meussner

Hi Andrew - I recognized that in my post, stating "And while most real estate is extremely local, one common phenomenon we're seeing nationwide "

 I'm working in some markets that are still hyper competitive with multiple offers everywhere, especially in the entry level price range of the greater Washington DC market.  In these types of posts I usually write about 'median' or 'nationwide' trends since it's not a hyperlocal blog.


 

Jul 08, 2022 03:07 PM