“Five and a half is where people get really comfortable,” said Nicole Rueth, a senior vice president at OneTrust Home Loans, a lender based in Denver. Until then, she added, owners will be motivated to sell by personal circumstances: “I’m having a baby, I’m getting married, I need to downsize, I need to move for my job.”
Understand Inflation and How It Affects You
For Jessica Grupp, buying a home coincided with the end of her active duty in the Navy. She had been renting in San Diego, and she wanted to stay after she finished her service. “I’ve wanted to buy here for a while,” she said.
As the market cooled and conditions became favorable again, Ms. Grupp, 33, found a two-bedroom apartment in the city’s University Heights neighborhood. Her offer of $640,000 — $10,000 below the asking price — was accepted, and she moved in with her dog, Kanna, in October.
Now a consultant for PwC, Ms. Grupp is happy she bided her time. “For me, it was finding a place that fit my lifestyle and budget,” she said.
More stories like hers would be welcomed by the real estate industry, which struggled last year as the market slowed down. Several online brokerage firms — including Compass, Redfin and Zillow — have laid off workers. Redfin and Zillow have closed their house-flipping businesses. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is reportedly in talks with the commercial real estate data provider CoStar to sell Move, a digital real estate business that includes Realtor.com and related sites.
“Home sales are probably bottoming out now or will in the first quarter this year,” said Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. The resilient economy, solid job market and low levels of mortgage defaults are among the reasons the housing market is stabilizing, he said, and he predicted that mortgage rates would slide to 5.5 percent by late spring or early summer.
“Stability is good, especially in light of the big changes that occurred in the past three years,” he said.