Is it a buyers' market?
A sellers' market?
One thing is certain:
It's a weird market.
Inventory is low, rates are high, and so are home prices...
The ubiquitous everyone's-talking-about-it bubble that's about to pop? We haven't seen it happen.
Regardless, houses still sell at these prices; qualified buyers always exist. Sometimes we're highly motivated to buy or rent, such as when a career shift or family matter dictates that we do so. On the other hand, sometimes we are qualified to buy yet choose not to, independent from the hefty rates....
Aside from the high mortgage rates here within 2023, these are a few reasons I contend qualified people are still not buying:
There might be buyers, qualified buyers, but the home option pool is low. There simply aren't as many homes available as there were in the previous years.
Qualified, but . . .
Many of us had big plans and dreams when covid basically shut the world down as we knew it. A lot plans got derailed. People worked from home. People got laid off. Some had money coming to them from family or the government. Others lost.
Our love goes out to all affected...which was, well, all of us in one way or another.
Savings and credit scores were not unaffected. A lot are still feeling the sting of negatively affected savings that got averted to accommodate lifestyle changes, medical bills, etc., and credit scores that got hit when bills weren't paid on time. While many are still 'qualified' to buy, they may be teetering on an edge between where they were pre-covid and where they want to be with their savings and/or credit before pouring money into a house.
The circle of [the real estate] life
One major reason is the belief that the market will take a dip soon--that 'bubble' mentioned above. The economy works in cycles, and real estate is no exception.
We've seen such high prices and now such high interest that it has to take a turn in the other direction soon...we surmise and hope, at least!
I think other issues prevent qualified buyers from buying homes, and these reasons are often prevalent in any and every real estate market:
Personally, I've avoided buying home that looked amazing on the outside and even upon touring it. Why? Because careful analysis revealed structural integrity issues that would cost a great deal to repair. Cosmetic issues are one thing; a majorly cracked foundation, sagging roof, and other such large issues are another, and often a deterrent or reason to price-adjust a house. Unsure about the integrity of a house's bones? Bring in a qualified expert. Even if they cost a pretty penny, they could help save you serious money if there is, in fact, an issue with the home's foundation, for instance.
If a house has had multiple bouts with termite damage, even if each case was remedied, I'm likely 'out.' Unless seriously proven otherwise, structure and integrity could be compromised.
An absolute 'no' for me in buying a house, no matter the interest rate and economic conditions, is if it has had moderate to extensive mold damage.
Mold and its byproducts are dangerous to human health. I'll bring in the professionals to mitigate a surface-level-type mold that's confined to a small visible area ... but in the event that mold has infested duct work; found its way between walls; infected a bathroom*; and has contaminated other hard-to-remedy, large-scale areas, I will not buy the house.
Recently I contributed to an article in Prevention Magazine about my life-threatening battle with mold exposure, so I know to take it very, very seriously. You can read more about mold on my ancillary site here and even consider testing not just your house but your own body for mold exposure issues here.*
*Note: I'm directly affiliated with HealYes.co, as I own the company and its ancillary blog NaturalLiving.blog.