WSFS Bank: Why This Winter Could Be a Great Time to Get Back into House Hunting

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Image via WSFS Bank.
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Over the past two years, the real estate market has pivoted many times. Depending on where you live, you might have experienced a hold on the market at the beginning of COVID-19, then there was a slight dip as the unknown of the pandemic loomed, and finally the market that we have been experiencing this past year — where inventory became scarce as many looked to buy homes.

This surge in the market has caused many potential homebuyers to put their house hunting on hold, opting to wait until the market “cools down” or turns into a “buyers’ market.” However, as home prices begin to stabilize and inventory increases in some areas, now might be the best time to restart your search for the perfect home — here’s why:

The Market Is Stabilizing

After over a year of a booming real estate market in our area that left many bidding above asking price on homes and competitive “all-cash” offers, the local market is beginning to stabilize, a change that is reflected in the price of homes. With the stabilization of the market, potential homebuyers will notice that homes are no longer going for tens of thousands over asking price. This is particularly great for first-time homebuyers, many of whom might be on tighter budgets and aren’t looking to overspend on a “starter home.” Both first-time homebuyers, as well as seasoned homeowners who are looking to move, will reap the benefits of resuming their search now — not only in the actual price of the property, but also with interest rates, which continue to remain low. This allows buyers to stretch their dollar a bit further, and maybe even allow them to opt for the more expensive home.

Family Friendly Timeline

While many families would ideally like to move during the summer (ahead of a new school year and in time to settle their families before fall), many times the search must start months in advance.

Winter is a great time to relaunch your search, as it gives you ample time to find the right home, in the right area and school district. It allows buyers the time to be particular with their criteria and not feel rushed into a decision. Additionally, typically with home purchase timelines, a winter offer on a home will often turn into a late spring closing, which translates into the family moving during the summer and settling in just in time for the new school year.

Not Looking to Move? There Are Still Benefits

Those looking to move aren’t the only ones that can reap the benefits of the current real estate market. If you are currently a homeowner, now is a great time to refinance your home and take advantage of lower rates. Currently, many homeowners who purchased houses before the onset of COVID face interest rates of 3.75 percent or higher. However, through refinancing, you could significantly decrease your interest rate and even shift to a 15- or 20-year mortgage, if desired. In the long term, this allows you to have more disposable monthly income and could even mean paying off your home in a shorter period of time.

The real estate market is pivoting, and now might be the best time to reconsider your goals, timeline, and finances as they relate to your home. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer, a family looking for their “forever home,” or a longtime homeowner that would like to save money, there are many benefits that can be reaped from the current state of the market.

It’s important to understand all the options that are open to you, especially when considering how large of an investment real estate is. A well-versed team of real estate agents, lenders, and advisors can help guide you through the process and decide what is best for you and your family’s financial future.

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Jeffrey M. Ruben, President, WSFS Mortgage, joined WSFS through its acquisition of Array Financial, a full-service mortgage banking organization, and Arrow Land Transfer in August 2013. Ruben formed Array and Arrow in 2005, having previously held senior executive roles at financial and legal institutions.

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