By Holly Henbest, Realtor

As we start the last quarter of 2022 and reflect on the third quarter, we had predicted a slow-down in buyer activity and an increase in housing inventory, and indeed that was the case. The rise in interest rates has been a bit more than expected and the market quickly shifted from a seller’s market to a balanced market.

Here’s the good news, a balanced market is still a great market. We were used to homes selling fast for over list price and bidding wars and now we’re back to a normal market.

Overall, this is great for us. We needed the pricing to slow down as it was leading us to affordability challenges. It’s also great because buyers now have a bigger selection of homes and can make more methodical decisions. Sellers need to have a bit more patience, but homes are still selling, and pricing remains strong.

We encourage you to not read too much about price per square foot changes or sales price changes, because the information can be quite deceptive. We’re seeing that the overall Maricopa County price per square foot is still up 5.9% since the beginning of 2022, but some areas are seeing a decrease in price per square foot because less expensive homes are being sold. So, the data can be quite skewed based on the types of homes being sold. It’s always important when comparing prices to compare similar sized homes that are in the same neighborhood. Even homes in the same zip code can vary greatly based on age, size, and lot location, so don’t let the averages lead you to any pricing assumptions. Instead, call us or another trusted Realtor to get the facts about homes and pricing in your neighborhood.

As we enter our cooler season of the year, we are hopeful that the real estate market will heat up a bit. There is some pent-up demand, as some buyers are waiting on the sidelines to see if interest rates decline. If you are considering buying a home with a jumbo loan, we expect to see the convention loan limit increase to $715,000 in November. Some lenders are already quoting this change, but it should become official in November.
A jumbo loan will be considered any loan of $715,001 or more and jumbo loans have been trending at roughly ½ percent less than conventional loan rates. So, if you are buying a home, you may want to consider putting less down and securing a lower interest rate with a jumbo loan versus a conventional loan. The current conventional loan limit is $647,200, so a jumbo loan is currently starting at $647,201.

Historically, when we see the conventional loan limit increase, we see an increase in loans at the higher end because it increases affordability of the buyer, so we should expect to see more interest in the homes around $700,000 to $800,000 especially.

I’m a Realtor, not a lender, so I can’t quote loan terms or rates, but if you are thinking about buying a home, we work with several great lenders we can recommend. Talking to a lender sooner than later is important. A lender can help you with ideas to increase your FICO score, determine which loan may best fit your needs, and how to structure your loan to get the best rate and terms. You may find out that you can afford more than you thought. Perhaps getting a seller concession would make a difference in your ability to buy, or perhaps paying off a credit card would increase your score and you’d qualify for a lower rate. There are often small things you can do that can make a big impact and a lender is happy to chat with you to help create opportunities and solutions for the best scenario for you.

If you have questions, let us know. We can be reached at (480) 266-8785 or holly@henbest.com.

Holly has been a Desert Ridge resident since 2000 and has been a Realtor since 2006. She is the leader of The Henbest Team with Realty One Group. Holly is ranked in the top ½ of 1 percent of Realtors in Arizona and is a certified luxury marketing expert. She has been ranked #24 in the Top 50 Realtors by the “Phoenix Business Journal” for the past several years and recognized by “So Scottsdale!” magazine as a Real Estate Superstar for 2019, 2020 and 2021. She’s also been the #1 ranked realtor at Realty One Group/North Scottsdale for the past several years. Learn more at henbest.com.