Is Now a Good Time to Buy a House in Florida? 2023 Expert Guide
Do you think buying a Florida home in 2023 is a good idea? We believe it is.
Here are our three key insights - Mortgage rates are rising, but first-time home buyers are still receiving discounts; Rather than experiencing a crash, home values have begun to increase once more; Home buyers are successfully negotiating with home sellers to meet their demands.
Read on to learn more.
Table of Contents
- Shielded from Rising Mortgage Rates: First-Time Home Buyers
- Resurgence in Home Values Amidst the Current Market
- Buyers Have the Upper Hand in Today's Housing Market
- Discounts on Conventional Mortgage Rates Available for First-Time Homebuyers
- Purchasing a Home with a Low Down Payment: Tips and Strategies
- How to Buy A Home In 2023
- How MakeFloridaYourHome Can Help
Shielded from Rising Mortgage Rates: First-Time Home Buyers
In 2023, the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate conventional mortgage is 6.85 percent, as reported by Mortgage News Daily. This marks a significant increase from just four weeks ago, when rates were below six percent.
The sudden rise in rates serves as a reminder of their unpredictable nature, causing monthly payments for first-time buyers to increase by nine percent and affecting the affordability of homes.
Fortunately, the government is taking steps to assist aspiring homeowners. Last month, a federal agency intervened to make homeownership more accessible and affordable, specifically for first-time buyers.
On February 23, 2023, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) unveiled a plan to decrease annual mortgage insurance premiums (FHA MIP) by 0.30 percentage points.
This will translate to a $300 yearly reduction in monthly payments for every $100,000 borrowed by homeowners with FHA-backed loans.
This marks the first reduction in FHA MIP in over eight years and is the third government intervention aimed at helping first-time buyers in the past ninety days.
In December 2022, the government enacted new regulations that lowered mortgage rates for low- and moderate-income home buyers by up to 1.75 percentage points.
Then, in January 2023, it introduced regulations that reduced interest rates for mortgages with low down payments.
While mortgage rates have increased for the general home-buying public since the start of the year, they have decreased for many first-time buyers due to these interventions.
Resurgence in Home Values Amidst the Current Market
There are indications that the U.S. housing market is not headed towards a crash, and instead, there are signals of a home price recovery.
Real estate data company Altos Research has reported that as of March 2023, the number of single-family homes for sale stands at just 429,000, indicating the tightest home inventory since last June. The National Association of REALTORS® has also reported low home inventory levels.
In its latest Existing Home Sales report, the real estate trade group revealed that the national housing supply currently stands at 2.9 months. This means that at the current sales pace for homes, every residential property available for sale would be sold by late May.
Such a low housing supply indicates that the demand for homes is high, which is driving up home prices. This suggests that a home price recovery is underway in the U.S. housing market.
In the housing market, when the supply of homes available for sale is less than six months, it tends to put upward pressure on home prices.
This is due to the basic principles of supply and demand. When there are fewer homes available for sale, and there is still significant demand from home buyers, it drives up home prices.
Apart from the limited home supply, home prices are also facing pressure from a new wave of buyers. According to data from Homebuyer.com, there has been a significant increase of 15.4 percent in first-time home buyer mortgage applications in February when compared to the previous month.
Furthermore, search traffic for first-time home buyer queries, such as "first-time home buyer programs" and "what credit score do you need to buy a house," has increased by similar amounts.
These data points are indicative of a healthy and expanding housing market. As more first-time home buyers enter the market, the demand for homes is likely to increase, further driving up home prices.
While this may make it more difficult for some home buyers to purchase a home, it is a sign of a robust and flourishing housing market.
Buyers Have the Upper Hand in Today's Housing Market
March 2023 presents an opportune time to buy a home for several reasons, one of which is that home sellers are currently offering buyers a lot of incentives. To borrow a phrase from Axios, "sellers are throwing money at buyers right now."
A recent analysis of real estate contracts revealed that 42% of home sellers offered concessions to buyers, including providing funds for home repairs, covering closing costs, and even offering mortgage rate buydowns. Such incentives can significantly reduce the upfront costs associated with purchasing a home, making it a more attractive proposition for buyers.
Moreover, thirty-one percent of home sellers chose to lower the sale price of their homes to make them more affordable to prospective buyers. This is a significant concession, as it can help buyers who may be struggling to afford the high home prices prevalent in the current market.
Overall, home sellers seem to be willing to go the extra mile to attract buyers in the current market. As a result, buyers who are willing to take the plunge into the housing market may find themselves benefiting from these concessions and incentives, making March 2023 a prime time to buy a home.
Despite what may appear to be a shift in the balance of power between home buyers and sellers, data suggests that home sellers have not entirely lost their leverage over buyers. In fact, the current housing market presents a unique opportunity for homebuyers.
One factor that has contributed to this opportunity is the low supply of homes. According to real estate data, the supply of homes is down, which means there are fewer options available for buyers. This has created a situation where buyers may feel like they have the upper hand, but this is not necessarily the case.
Another key factor is the increasing demand for homes. With more and more buyers entering the market, sellers still have a pool of interested buyers to choose from, even if they are offering incentives and concessions.
Finally, rising mortgage rates have also created a sense of urgency among buyers. With rates on the rise, many buyers may feel pressured to act quickly to secure a mortgage while rates are still relatively low.
Overall, the current climate represents a unique opportunity for buyers to make demands of sellers and have those demands met. Buyers can take advantage of this market advantage between now and mid-April and potentially secure homes at lower, more affordable prices.
However, it is important to keep in mind that sellers still have some leverage, and buyers should be prepared to negotiate and make competitive offers to secure their desired home.
Discounts on Conventional Mortgage Rates Available for First-Time Homebuyers
In December 2022, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) made a significant move to assist low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers by introducing the First-Time Home Buyer Mortgage Rate Discount program.
As the governing agency of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the FHFA's program aimed to make homeownership more accessible and cost-effective for first-time buyers.
By providing automatic mortgage rate discounts, the FHFA made it easier for potential homeowners to consider purchasing a home instead of renting.
The program offered a significant reduction in mortgage rates, making it a more financially sound decision for those who were previously on the fence about buying.
For first-time buyers, this was an opportunity to secure affordable financing and attain their dream of owning a home.
The First-Time Home Buyer Mortgage Rate Discount offered by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is an excellent opportunity for eligible buyers looking to purchase single-family homes, condos, townhomes, or multi-unit properties.
With the program, qualified buyers can benefit from mortgage rate discounts of up to 1.75 percentage points off their mortgage rate, making homeownership more affordable and attainable for low- and moderate-income individuals and families.
One of the significant advantages of the FHFA program is that eligible buyers do not need to provide additional documentation to avail the discount, and it is automatically applied to their mortgage rate. This makes the home buying process more accessible and less time-consuming for first-time buyers.
However, it is essential to note that the program is temporary, which adds to the urgency of buying a home in March 2023.
Once the FHFA mortgage rate discount program ends, interest rates are likely to increase, making it more expensive to buy a home.
Therefore, taking advantage of this program now can be a smart financial decision for first-time buyers looking to purchase their dream home.
Purchasing a Home with a Low Down Payment: Tips and Strategies
For many individuals aspiring to become first-time homebuyers, the desire to attain homeownership cannot be delayed or postponed.
Whether it's because mortgage interest rates are currently high, the inventory of available homes is too low, or there isn't enough money saved up in the bank to make a down payment, none of these factors should stand in the way of homeownership.
Fortunately, there are solutions available for those who are looking to achieve the American Dream of owning their own home without having to save up the traditional 20% down payment.
Now is the perfect time for first-time homebuyers to consider making a move. They can apply for mortgages that require low or no down payment options through both online and offline mortgage lenders, as well as seek down payment assistance programs through local housing offices.
Obtaining a mortgage with a down payment of less than twenty percent is becoming increasingly feasible.
In the past 18 months, mortgage lenders have reduced the minimum credit score requirement for FHA, USDA, and VA mortgages, making it easier for more people to qualify for these loans.
Additionally, Congress has taken steps to help potential homeowners by enacting laws that affect how medical debt and credit scores are calculated.
These changes have resulted in an average increase of 22 points in FICO credit scores, giving buyers with higher credit scores access to lower mortgage rates and higher mortgage approval rates.
Congress is also working on legislation aimed at making housing more affordable for first-time home buyers. Proposed bills include home buyer tax credits, down payment assistance and cash grants, and other incentives to encourage home purchases.
These programs would make it easier for buyers to purchase a home, even if they do not have a large down payment or perfect credit.
How to Buy A Home In 2023
If you're considering buying your first home, March 2023 could be a great time to make that move. To make the process smoother, we have three pieces of advice for you.
First, it's important to get a mortgage pre-approval. By doing so, you'll be able to use current interest rates to determine your affordability and set realistic boundaries for your home search.
With a good pre-approval, you'll be able to focus on homes that are within your budget and avoid the disappointment of falling in love with a property you can't afford.
Second, you should take steps to improve your credit score. Review your credit report for any errors and consider using a credit-building service like StellarFi.
By supplementing your monthly bill-paying, you can improve your score in as few as 30 days. Higher credit scores can result in lower interest rates and better mortgage terms, so it's worth putting in the effort to boost your score.
Finally, make use of the HUD website to research down payment assistance programs in your area. While some programs may have been discontinued or defunded, there are still many options available to help first-time home buyers.
By calling the local provider to verify availability, you can take advantage of programs that can provide you with financial assistance to make your home ownership dreams a reality.
How MakeFloridaYourHome Can Help
MakeFloridaYourHome is a leading resource for first-time homebuyers in Florida. With their expertise in the local real estate market and a deep understanding of the homebuying process, they can help guide first-time homebuyers through every step of the journey.
They offer a variety of services to help buyers find the right property, secure financing, negotiate offers, and close on the sale.
They also provide valuable resources and tools, such as market reports, neighborhood guides, and home buying checklists, to help first-time buyers make informed decisions and feel confident about their investment.
With MakeFloridaYourHome, first-time homebuyers can rest assured that they have a trusted partner to help them navigate the complex and often overwhelming process of buying a home in Florida.