Do you plan to buy your first home in Washington in 2024? If so, there are some things you should know about recent mortgage and housing trends. Understanding the current “lay of the land” can improve your chance for success, which this article will go over.
If you’re a first-time home buyer looking to buy your first WA home in 2024, your best bet is to gather as much information as you can to ensure a successful transaction. To that end, here are five things first-time home buyers in Washington should know in 2024.
1. Home Prices Are Rising
A couple of years ago, home prices in Washington were rising faster than any other state in the country. Washington led the way in terms of annual price growth, posting double-digit gains from one year to the next.
But things slowed down a bit over the first half of 2019, which allowed the housing market to cool down a little and give buyers a bit of a breather. However, things have picked up since then and are expected to continue at that pace over the course of 2024.
Over the past 12 months, home prices have risen 0.8% and are expected to rise throughout the remainder of the year.
According to the latest research by Zillow, the statewide median home value was around $562,290 as of January 2024. So, Washington State continues to outpace the nation in terms of appreciation rates and is considered a very hot market right now.
Looking forward, housing analysts have predicted that home prices across the state will most likely continue to rise throughout 2024.
The key takeaway here is that first-time buyers who put off their purchases until later in 2024 could encounter higher prices and reduced affordability.
2. Housing Inventory Continues To Be Tight
Inventory shortages continue to be a big real estate news story in Washington State and are expected to continue to be throughout 2024. Many cities across the state and the country are experiencing a shortage of homes for sale, relative to the number of buyers in the market. Shortages were particularly severe in major cities across the Pacific Northwest, including those in Washington.
In King County, for instance, there is only a half-month supply of housing inventory available for buyers. That’s a lot lower than the 5- or 6-months supply that characterizes a balanced market.
Inventory is still not enough to keep up with demand, leaving buyers to face fierce competition among others.
3. Mortgage Rates Are Rising Fast
Mortgage rates have spiked over the past few months with rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages currently sitting around the 5.60% mark. This is a massive jump from where rates were originally supposed to top out for the year, around 4% according to most predictions.
4. Mortgage Loans Are More Flexible Today Than in the Past
A recent report from CoreLogic showed that mortgage underwriting have relaxed somewhat for both conventional and FHA loans. Another report showed that home loan denial rates have declined steadily for the last few years.
Both of these trends point to a mortgage industry that has become more flexible. It also underscores the importance of speaking to a knowledgeable loan officer about the many financing options that are available. Please contact us if you have any mortgage-related questions, or if you’d like to receive a quote on your next loan.
5. Getting Pre-Approved For a Home Loan Could Increase Your Chance For Success
In a previous article, we shared a report that showed most first-time buyers in Washington State and nationwide get pre-approved for a mortgage loan before house hunting. It makes sense to start the process in this order, and that’s why so many people do it.
Getting pre-approved for a home loan can help you zero in on a specific price range. This, in turn, can help you narrow down your housing search and expedite the overall process. Please contact us if you have questions about getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan in 2024.
Curious About Mortgages in Washington State?
If you’re ready to buy your first home in Washington State, Sammamish Mortgage would love to help you. We are a local, family-owned company based in Bellevue, Washington and have been serving the entire state, as well as Oregon, Colorado, and Idaho, since 1992. We have various mortgage programs to offer you, depending on your exact financial situation. Please contact us if you have mortgage-related questions.