Our Real Estate Expert Names The Biggest Trends We'll See In The 2024 Homebuying Season

From rising interest rates to overall inflation, the real estate market is a scary and sometimes unpredictable landscape. Even if you're following trends like some people follow celebrities, it can be confusing to understand what's going on with home sales and rates and, more importantly, how these affect you. To help out, House Digest spoke exclusively with Lindsey Schmidt, Realtor, licensed in Virginia at Fathom Realty, who explained the biggest trends people can expect to see in the 2024 homebuying season and shed some light on those nagging questions: Will rates drop and will more houses be available in my budget? According to Schmidt, "The most prominent trend I'm seeing with my own clients this year is acceptance and refocus." Buyers and sellers seem to be understanding that the current rate might be here to stay for a while.

"Accepting that interest rates are not going to dip below 4% any time soon and refocusing their search ... shifting their mindset to find the home that they can afford and looking for ways to be competitive in this seller's market," Schmidt said regarding what will help buyers get back out there and understand the market better. Beyond following important first steps when buying a home, it's important to remain realistic. 

Stop waiting and start house hunting

It's understandable that people want to wait to buy a new home when rates are lower, especially if they have a set budget to spend on the mortgage. With rates skyrocketing over the last few years, many people had to put their buying plans on hold, trying to wait out the extreme jump and other major real estate trends from 2022. Lindsey Schmidt explained that it's normal for people to try and hold off. "I've had several clients that were holding out over the last two years and now realize that as they wait, they are continuing to build someone else's equity through renting." She exclusively told House Digest that while this was a common choice, it still left people pouring their hard-earned money into someone else's pocket.

While rates might not have gone back down to what they were before the 2022 inflation, they are dipping, allowing people to breathe easier after seeing their rates linger around 7% at one point during 2023. Schmidt noted that 2025 will see a shift in the waiting game when buying and selling homes. "I think we'll see more sellers willing to sell in 2025," she said. "Many were holding out because they are locked into their current home with a low-interest rate and can't afford the same amount of house with current rates." Not only does Schmidt think people will begin putting their homes on the market again, she also believes buyers have finally accepted higher rates.

Rates are tapering, but housing prices could stay up

"I think more people will realize that rates aren't going [pre-2022] low again and readjust their thought process to buy in this different environment," Lindsey Schmidt said. For those who are ready to jump back into the market, Schmidt recommended purchasing with budget in mind. "Buy based on what you can afford now," she suggested. "Rates may lower, but we don't know if/when that will happen." She explained that you can always refinance if rates go down, but buying within your means is imperative for a comfortable fit. You can always ask about a good rate cap, too, to protect against soaring rates.

Every market is different, and Schmidt exclusively filled House Digest in on seasonal market tips. "Understand that seasons affect the market," she said, explaining that depending on where you live or are looking, certain times of year are more competitive than others. So, if you wait for less competitive months, you might be able to find wiggle room in some areas, like home inspections. She left off with the advice that you shouldn't put your search on pause any longer if you can afford to buy, even if it's not at the rate you hoped for. 

"If rates do drop dramatically, EVERYONE will be in the market to buy and you'll be in an even more competitive market," she said. Schmidt recommended going for it because there's no certainty in rate or price drops, but building your own equity is invaluable.