First Time Buyers Should Take Advantage of Early 2019 Market

Top Quote CEO and founder of StartingPoint Realty, Ryan Gable, discusses what the market in 2019 means for first time home buyers. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) December 29, 2018 - After enduring years of fast-moving home sales, bidding wars, and lean inventory, home buyers might finally catch a break. Nationally, the inventory of homes for sale increased by 4 percent in November 2018, continuing a trend of improving supply that began last summer.

    The growth in home inventory has caused sellers to soften their asking prices and negotiate deals. Home prices, while still rising on a year-over-year basis, have been losing acceleration. Sellers of luxury homes and higher-priced properties are on the front lines of a slowing market.

    At the same time, the inventory of affordable homes remains limited, and buyers must be quick to capitalize on new opportunities. The upcoming weeks of the New Year will offer the best market conditions buyers have seen in some time.

    Ryan Gable, CEO and founder of StartingPoint Realty, explains it this way: “When you combine a slowing market with the seasonal advantages of winter home buying, it gives buyers a much stronger position. Buyers who previously dropped out of the market should get back into the game.”

    This is especially true in the Chicago area. A spate of new listings hit the Cook County market during October 2018, with single-family home inventory up 9 percent from a year ago. During the same month, condominiums and townhomes saw inventory gains in the double digits.

    “Unfortunately, some buyers picked right then to step back from the market,” says Gable. “Buyers were spooked by a rise in mortgage interest rates, but this was more of a psychological reaction than a practical one.”

    A look at Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage survey bears this out. The average interest rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.60 percent in mid-September. In October and November, the same mortgage averaged near 5 percent. By the second week of December, the average rate was back down to 4.63 percent. When comparing the highest and lowest averages from September 13 through December 13, the maximum rate difference was 0.34 percent.

    “Buyers need to remember that mortgage interest rates are only part of the picture,” explains Gable. “The media can paint a scary picture, but talk to a lender, find out where you land in the affordability scale. Historically, we’re still in a great spot.”

    Gable says qualified first time buyers could miss out if they procrastinate. “Home prices ease off in the autumn and winter months, but they spike up in the spring, when buyer traffic is the heaviest. At the same time, affordable home inventory will remain lean. Learn the process now, get ready.”

    While market conditions are beyond a home buyer’s control, there is a way to help more buyers achieve success. “Real estate professionals must make efforts to educate home buyers, who are often under-represented by typical agencies,” says Gable. “When you contribute to the success of first time home buyers, you contribute to the vitality of local neighborhoods. You strengthen communities and support local economies. First time buyers are tomorrow’s home sellers, move-up buyers, and investors. They are the lifeblood of the market.”

    Since 2004, StartingPoint Realty has specialized in educating and representing first time home buyers throughout Chicago and the Northwest Suburbs. StartingPoint Realty offers free home buyer seminars at various locations in Chicagoland. For more information, call 847-348-1154 or visit

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