DALLAS — It wasn’t that long ago that Lisa King, a Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s realtor in the firm’s Lakewood office, was advising clients to put an aggressive, “clean” offers the minute they saw a home they liked.
"Clean" meant waiving option periods, appraisals and inspections, not asking for home warranties, closing within days, and sometimes offering a free lease back to the sellers.
Dallas-Fort Worth area homes were selling with hours of hitting the market, often for tens of thousands of dollars above their list price.
What a difference a few weeks – and two interest rate hikes -- can make.
“It has changed drastically,” King said. “Houses are not flying off the market like they were.”
The Federal Reserve’s Wednesday announcement of a .75% rate hike means back-to-back increases of three-quarters of percentage point.
For home buyers, that translates into paying a significant amount more in interest on a home loan.
According to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage market survey, a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 5.54% as of July 21. About one year ago, that rate was 2.78%.
King said her clients are questioning whether they want to pay more for a house that might have been $200 less a month just a few weeks ago.
“They’re worried about their jobs. They’re worried about a recession. They’re worried about their company going under or they’re worried about layoffs,” she said. “We’ve been living in this uncertain world for two years. Now buyers are kind of going, uh oh, is this the time to buy?”
Suddenly, King says her buyers don’t have to offer tens of thousands of dollars over a list price and they can demand inspections again.
A housing shortage remains, so the market isn’t at a standstill.
But it’s changed.
“I’m still getting multiple offers -- not as many. The offers can be at list. They can be a little over list. And they can be even under list,” she said. “And sellers have given concessions. They’ve given credits for repairs and closing costs. That was not the case two months ago. Sellers were not having to give concessions. Sellers were not having to do anything.”
The Dallas Business Journal reports that cancellations on new home builds are skyrocketing as buyers back out of contracts and DFW new home sales in June fell from May.
Danny Perez, managing director of Rockwall-based M&D Real Estate told the Dallas Business Journal that pending sales of all homes — existing and new — are down 14.2% in Dallas County, 24.6% in Collin County, 4.1% in Rockwall County and 8.1% in Kaufman County.
King said she’s telling sellers they’ll need a little more patience in this market.
If it’s priced right, needs few repairs, and is in a desirable location, “[it] will sell, but it’s just going to take a little bit of time.”
She’s also encouraging buyers who might have given up to get back in the market.
“First-time homebuyers who are putting 3.5 percent down with an FHA loan are able to get into a house,” she said. “Their offers are getting accepted and that was unheard of for the last 12 to 16 to 18 months.”
King is also reminding clients that the market is constantly evolving.
“When things change – and they will – they can refinance,” she said. “But now’s the time to find a home if you’re in the market to buy.”