Spring Market Exploding Affordable Inventory Needed!
Record-breaking cold and snowfall slowed housing sales in the region during the first quarter of 2019. Across all of our markets, 5% fewer homes sold than last year. But there was considerable variation from market to market, as shown on our regional activity chart, attached.
Warm April weather has opened the floodgates, releasing pent up buyer demand. Unfortunately, affordable inventory isn’t coming onto the market as quickly as the buyers, so we have frustrated first-time buyers with competing offers for lower-priced homes. This is great news for sellers - we just need more of them!
Mortgage Rates Lower than Last Year
Mortgage rates are actually lower than they were at this time last year. This was a pleasant surprise. As of April 15, rates with no points were:
15-year Conventional Fixed…………....3.750%
30-year Conventional Fixed…………....4.125%
FHA/VA 30-year Fixed………………….4.125%
5/1 ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage)...4.000%
We also have excellent first-time homebuyer programs with down payment assistance available in both Iowa and Illinois. Refinancing is once again a good option for borrowers seeking lower payments or seeking cash to pay for home improvements or other needs, such as buying a rental property.
Buyer’s or Seller’s Market?
We consider a buyer’s market to be more than 6 months of inventory and a seller’s market to be 3 months or less of inventory. Four to six months is a balanced market, favoring neither buyer nor seller. Location, price range and buyer demand impact months of inventory.
Market Price Months of Inventory
Cedar Rapids Area < $400K 2.0
> $400K 7.3
Dubuque Area < $350K 2.3
> $350K 9.8
Illinois Quad Cities Area < $300K 2.6
> $300K 10.0
Iowa Quad Cities Area < $450K 1.6
> $450K 8.1
Iowa City Area < $300K 5.1
> $300K 9.2
We continue to have a bifurcated market, with a seller’s market in the affordable price ranges and a buyer’s market in the upper price ranges, which vary by market. This bifurcation presents a great opportunity for move up buyers. They can sell in a seller’s market and buy in a buyer’s market.