Home BuyersReal Estate Market December 4, 2023

Should You Buy a House or Wait? Market Data & Insights

If you are thinking about buying a home, you may be asking whether you should buy a house now or wait. There are several factors to consider, including your personal situation, the overall market, and being able to find a home that’s right for you. We’ve gathered the most recent market data and insights to help you make an informed decision.

A Look at the U.S. Housing Market

Whether you are wanting to stay in your current community or move out of state, it’s important to look at the U.S. housing market. While there are nuances and fluctuations depending on supply and demand in certain areas, the bigger picture still influences local markets. According to Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, the number of homes for sale remains close to historic lows. “When adjusted for seasonality, there were just 1.03 million single family and condominium homes for sale in the month of August. That’s down 8.3% from a year ago, and the second lowest level in 2023.”

Gardner explains that this is due to mortgage rates. Current home owners are reluctant to sell and trade their low mortgage rates for a much higher one. This hesitancy is keeping the housing market tight with fewer homes for sale overall. As Gardner points out in the above video, you can’t buy what’s not for sale. However, there will always be people who need to sell due to job changes, downsizing needs, and more.

Western Washington and Bainbridge Island Market Update

When taking a closer look at the housing market in Western Washington, mortgage rates are definitely playing a role regionally as well. In the third quarter of 2023, sales fell even though the average number of homes for sale increased 29.5% from the second quarter. Gardner said he was surprised that “prices rose over the previous quarter despite the fact that mortgage rates were above 7% for almost the entire quarter.” In fact, prices for Kitsap County rose between 4% to 6.9%, which is higher than most other counties in our region. This factor, combined with other market data and insights, leads Gardner to believe that it’s still a seller’s market in Western Washington, but only slightly.

But what does this all mean if you want to buy a home on Bainbridge Island? Some of these trends are carrying over to the Bainbridge Island housing market as well, but with differences in the numbers. In the third quarter of 2023, there were 80 closed sales, which is down 21.6% year over year. However, the average home sale price was $1.6 million, which is up 8.9% year over year. Additionally, sellers received 101% of the list price. So as a buyer, the best thing to do is to assess your finances and see if there are options on Bainbridge Island that fit your criteria and price range.

Individual Considerations

If you are a Bainbridge Island homeowner and need to purchase a house elsewhere, you are in a good position to sell and buy that next home. If you are looking to relocate and move to Bainbridge Island, then it’s important to assess your personal situation and your financial goals. Keep in mind that Gardner expects inventory to remain low through next year. This means that if you see a great home now that meets your needs, you might as well put in an offer. Chances are that inventory won’t significantly increase any time soon. Plus, there will most likely be more buyers to compete with during next spring and summer when the market tends to heat up.

What About Interest Rates?

There is no denying that interest rates are high right now. According to Gardner, interest rates are now at levels not seen since the fall of 2000. But don’t let this discourage you from purchasing a home. Windermere partners with Penrith Home Loans, and Cherie Kesti, a Penrith Branch Manager and Mortgage Consultant, points out, “As we say in real estate, marry the house, date the rate. If you wait to buy, most likely the home’s value will continue to increase. This requires a larger loan regardless of the interest rate. If you buy now with a lower home value, you will have a smaller loan. With refinancing, this means a smaller monthly payment in the future.”

So, don’t let high interest rates stop you from moving forward in life. With such limited housing inventory available, the chances are homes will continue increasing in value the longer you wait. This leads to higher prices in the future, which are much harder to negotiate down in a tight market. It’s much easier to refinance a loan.

Get Advice from an Expert

If you’re still not sure what to do, contact a Windermere Bainbridge Island real estate agent to help you. Our agents are proud locals with extensive market knowledge. They will be able to guide you in the decision making process and tell you about recent home sales.