I Asked an Economist What to Know About Buying a Home Right Now

published Sep 9, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
hanging over keys
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

At times it feels like you need a detailed map to make your way through this wacky housing market. Luckily, we have just that — in the form of Danetha Doe, chief economist at real estate site Clever and creator of Money & Mimosas, a resource for building wealth while staying socially and environmentally responsible. Doe shared her best tips and advice for buying or selling a home today. Here’s what she wants you to know.

The market is shifting.

What once was a seller’s market, stuffed full of intense competition for housing, is actually finally starting to even out.

“The homebuying market is shifting from being a seller’s market to being a more balanced market between sellers and buyers,” Doe says. “The increase in interest rates has caused some buyers to slow down or opt out of their purchases, leading to homes staying on the market longer and sellers cutting their listing prices.”

That means you might be able to find a house in your price range (!). If the interest rate is high, consider still purchasing but refinancing when it goes down.

Interest rates will continue to rise.

Speaking of interest rates, you’re not about to get much relief. Doe thinks there’s another increase on the horizon.

“I anticipate we’ll see another increase in mortgage rates before the end of the year because inflation is still high,” she says. “The Federal Reserve has made it clear that reducing inflation is a top priority and therefore, will likely increase interest rates again in order to reduce inflation.”

At least it’s good for people with high yield savings accounts.

Tax credits and rebates are available.

Before you buy or sell your home, be sure you’re looking into all the programs available to you, Doe says. That means both federal and local programs, which may be able to cut down the cost of your home or provide tax credits.

“For example, as a buyer, check out down payment assistance programs that offer loans at low or zero interest to help you cover the down payment costs,” Doe says. “Sellers, pay attention to the Inflation Reduction Act and see if there are tax credits or rebates you can take advantage of before you sell your home.”

Don’t base your decisions on the market.

And finally, in what Doe says is probably her most important piece of advice, make sure you’re doing what’s right for you at this particular time — whether that’s selling a home, buying a home, or putting a home sale or purchase on hold for now.

“[Don’t] get caught up in the frenzy,” she says. “You should buy, or sell, a home if it makes sense for you. If you make financial decisions based on the market, you will stress yourself out. Instead, make your decisions based on your personal economy and financial goals.”