This spring’s Highlands housing market continues to reflect most of the trends that have held sway across much of the nation. There is good news, not-so-good news, and (happy to report) no really bad news at all. In fact, it’s the absence of threatening factors that makes our housing market a welcoming one for those looking to buy or sell in Highlands this spring or summer. Here’s the brief run-down:
Prices: look as if they will continue to trend higher, but more slowly than they have for the past couple of years. The consensus of expert opinion calls national average residential prices to climb 4%+, which is about 1%-2% more slowly than in 2015. Of course, every Highlands property (and neighborhood, for that matter) fares slightly differently, so those generalities are only helpful in the context of the actual Highlands “comps” (the comparables).
Rents: where Highlands rentals sustain the kind of vacancy rates that are being seen just about everywhere in the U.S., rates have nowhere to go but up. Property managers are reporting that they’ve raised rents in 88% of localities, which has had a push-pull effect on housing markets. On one hand, every increase nudges renters to more seriously consider the not-so-abstract monetary advantage home ownership produces. When owning is actually cheaper than renting in monthly cash flow terms (not even counting the long-term investment aspect), every month’s rent check is a new spur to investigate that option. That’s the push. The pull is that those expensive rental dollars spent make it that much harder to save for even a nominal down payment.
Mortgages. No news here: mortgage interest rates just don’t seem to want to rise—no matter how certain the financial experts are that they have to do so. Actual recent history has chastened those forecasts, though, so at this point, most Highlands borrowers probably expect that rates will stay below the 5% mark throughout 2016. Still, with many quotes for last week’s 30-year fixed hovering in the high 3%s, the incentive to take advantage of today’s rates remains a strong point.
Inventories. With few exceptions, the reason why all those incentives to buy have not created an explosion of real estate activity is the shortage of homes on the market—the inventories. That is an additional incentive for Highlands owners to list, since it means limited competition channels more potential buyers to their own property.
As the spring selling season gets going in earnest, we’ll see if Highlands’s housing market behaves the same way the broader national real estate trends indicate. For an immediate micro-update, just give me a call anytime!