As we head into 2024 with hopes of our weight dropping, one thing we are seeing, that is actually happening, is mortgage rates are dropping.
For obvious reasons it is hard to predict what 2024 holds for mortgage rates and market stability. I prefer to collect a few top-notch professionals and then sprinkle in some Bravo. For this article, we will take a look at predictions from Fannie Mae, one of the large players in the mortgage industry. Next we will take a look at what the National Association of Realtors has to say (NAR) and finally…we will mix in some of Ryan Serhants two cents. I enjoy Ryan mainly because he has gray hair like I do.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the two largest players in the mortgage industry and as such, I always like to take a look at their projections as they trend toward truth. Fannie Mae predicts that the average rate will be right around 6.7% with a strong belief that they will not fall below six percent. Obviously that is not the 3% we were seeing during the pandemic, but we were seeing a lot during the pandemic that most of us don’t want to see again. More importantly Fannie Mae predicts that the housing market will remain compressed as the low inventory levels remain in full effect. On the flip side, they do project that home prices will increase by 2.4% compared to last year and this is likely the perfect storm combo of lower, more manageable rates, combined with consistently low inventory. Simple supply and demand will raise home prices. This is an interesting take away because most buyers believe that the market is returning to pre-pandemic prices but projections tell us that is not the case.
The next heavy hitter we are going to take a look at is the National Association of Realtors. Aside from all of their bad press as of late – we are simply looking at their projections for 2024 as these are historically pretty spot on. For starters, NAR is predicting that the number of national home sales will increase by nearly 14% compared to 2023, which is a massive increase when taking a look at the interest rates. NAR believes that the national average home price will pretty much stay the same, however with the lowered interest rate when looking at last year, this will indeed help with home ownership affordability for this year. Similarly to Fannie Mae, NAR believes the mortgage rate to be lowest at 6.3% while that is not what they believe to be the average rate.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Ryan Serhant from ‘Million Dollar Listing N.Y.’ For starters, Ryan relies heavily on the reminder that not long ago we were in the uncharted times of COVID. Much of our lives, industries, and the world have been changed and while some things have returned to normal, we truly won’t see the correction for other things happening for quite some time, if ever. One of those markets being the real estate market, which likely won’t correct for some time. One of the reasons is the high number of remote workers. While some of us have returned to our offices and water cooler chit chat, a large number of employers are still riding high on the lack of office space and tighter margins. As such, many buyers are looking at markets outside of metro areas that are a bit more affordable. Serhant predicts that in 2024 this trend will continue and while there won’t be a huge mass exodus from metro areas, there will be an increase in those markets with some tumbleweeds. He also predicts, similarly, that suburbs will see a large increase in interest as city dwellers want yards and a garage and some more space to stretch out. One powerful take away from Serhant is this quote: “Remember, markets shouldn’t dictate your outcomes. They should only dictate your strategy.”
To take a few paragraphs and summarize them while curating for our D.C. metro market I would say the following predictions should be heavily weighted. In 2024, we will see an increase in home sales across the D.C. area with focus on more suburban and rural areas where buyers get a little more space for their dollars as well as a longer term investment. Think Gaithersburg, Upper Marlboro and Bowie, and smaller towns near Middleburg. We will see mortgage rates steady out around the mid 6% range, which will make home buying more affordable for lots of folks. Unfortunately we will also see inventory levels remain lower than average with new inventory slower to launch on the market. When looking at the simple understanding of supply and demand, we have lower interest rates, which means more buyers will return to the market that had previously left due to being priced out, combining that with the consistent low inventory will likely cause a greater demand that we saw in 2023 in our market which will result in a stable and strong real estate for 2024.
One surefire way to make sure you are geared up and ready for the real estate market is to work alongside a real estate agent that has their pulse on the local market you wish to transact in as well as an understanding of current economic times. I also have a list of great personal trainers if you want to work on that other 2024 resolution.