Homebuyers could be in store for some relief in 2024 as mortgage rates are predicted to continue dropping while sales volumes are expected to jump to 5.3 million over the next two years. Still, with home prices still high and limited inventory, finding an affordable home will continue to be a challenge.
Realtor.com released the top 100 ranking metros for 2024 that include affordable markets in the Northeast and Midwest such as Toledo, Ohio, and Rochester, New York, alongside Southern California markets, like the Los Angeles and San Diego areas, that are expected to rebound from 2023's sluggish sales.
"Now that we're seeing the beginning of an affordability turnaround, home buyers are still looking for markets where they can capitalize on lower prices," Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale said. "Even in some of the more expensive markets, we'll see double-digit sales growth as sales start to rebound from their historic lows, helped by mortgage rates, which are expected to finally relent."
Homebuyers can find the best mortgage rates by shopping around and comparing their options. You can visit an online marketplace like Credible to compare rates, choose your loan term and get preapproved with multiple lenders at once.
These are the top 5 most affordable housing markets
If affordability is your top concern, you may want to start your house hunt in these top five midwestern and northeastern metros. These cities boast affordable housing options compared to larger urban centers, making homeownership more attainable.
Moreover, the top markets in the Midwest and Northeast also exhibit a degree of insulation from the impact of higher mortgage rates, mainly due to a higher proportion of homeowners residing in housing units without a mortgage. These cities also provide a high quality of life with various cultural amenities, recreational opportunities and educational institutions.
Here's how they are ranked:
#1 Toledo, Ohio
As of October 2023, Toledo's median home listing price was 51.6% lower than the national median home price, making it attractive to first-time homebuyers.
#2 Rochester, New York
As of October 2023, its median listing price was 41.2% below the national median. The region offers a cost-effective housing market with various housing options, making it an ideal choice for first-time buyers and families.
#3 Springfield, Massachusetts
The median list price in Springfield as of October 2023 was 13.3% below the national median and 56% below the median listing price in the Boston metro area. Springfield also boasts a rich cultural scene, numerous parks and recreational opportunities and a strong sense of community.
#4 Worcester, Massachusetts/Connecticut
Worcester was 14.7% more expensive than the national median but offers great deals compared to home prices in nearby Boston.
#5 Grand Rapids-Kentwood, Michigan
As of October 2023, the median listing price in the metro was 8.2% less than the nation's median price. Grand Rapids boasts a diverse and growing economy with manufacturing, healthcare and technology opportunities.
If you're looking to buy a home, it can help to shop around for the best mortgage rates. Visit Credible to compare options from different lenders without affecting your credit score.
Home sales pick up in California
After a lackluster year, home sales are set to pick up in some Californian cities. The top five Californian metros include Oxnard, San Diego, Riverside, Bakersfield and Los Angeles. These five metros are expected to have sales growth of 13.1%, on average, in 2024, compared to an average decline of 4.1% for other Californian metros in the largest 100 list.
Home sales in these metros may get a boost by revamped loan limits. During the period spanning January to August 2023, FHA loans, specifically designed to assist first-time or minority homebuyers, played a substantial role, accounting for 15.8% of all mortgaged sales in these top markets, according to Realtor.com. In 2024, the Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA) new conforming loan limits for conventional loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be $766,550, an increase of $40,350 from 2023.
In high-cost areas where 115% of the local median home value is larger than $766,550, homebuyers will be permitted to use the high-cost area loan limit, which is 150% of typical loan limits. That pushes the new limit for high-cost areas to $1,149,825.
"While greater mortgage usage may make these markets more sensitive to rising interest rates, the utilization of government-backed mortgage products could help many buyers safely enter the markets with a lower down payment and perhaps a more favorable mortgage rate, offering a compelling avenue to secure homes in these competitive markets," Realtor.com said.
If you are looking to take advantage of the current mortgage rates by refinancing your mortgage loan or are ready to shop for the best rate on a new mortgage, consider visiting an online marketplace like Credible to compare rates and get preapproved with multiple lenders at once.
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