3 Trends Home Buyers Should Watch in April

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Thinking of buying a home? Here's what to expect in April.

If you're considering buying a home, it's helpful to keep an eye on changes in the real estate market and the mortgage industry. These trends can affect the price of housing, home availability, and your ability to get an affordable home loan with a great mortgage lender.

While no one can predict the future, let's consider three trends that are likely to continue in April that buyers should keep an eye on.

1. A move away from city centers

The COVID-19 pandemic has many Americans moving away from densely populated cities and into suburban neighborhoods. This trend has been driven by a few key factors.

The biggest is the shift to remote work, which may remain even post-pandemic. For workers freed from the daily office commute, moving to a place with lower property costs and more space can seem very attractive.

During the pandemic, densely populated cities also seemed less safe than suburban areas where people had more space to move around. The concern about proximity to neighbors is likely to fade as more people get vaccinated, but it's unlikely the country will be close to herd immunity before the end of April. So the desire for more space will remain a factor for the foreseeable future.

As a buyer, you could follow the herd to the suburbs if that fits your lifestyle -- or take advantage of the chance to score a bargain on a property in an urban area.

2. Rising mortgage rates

Mortgage rates repeatedly hit new record lows last year, but things are turning around. Rates have been rising because of investor concerns about inflation, which have only heightened in response to the recent $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill.

Although rates have been trending upward, they're still very competitive by historical standards. Would-be borrowers shouldn't let rising rates deter them from buying a home if they are otherwise ready to do so. In fact, because rates are trending up, some borrowers may want to lock in their rate soon and move up an impending home purchase before rates go higher.

3. Sales will likely ramp up

Spring and summer are prime times to buy a home. This summer may be an especially popular time to buy as Americans begin to see light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the pandemic.

People who have been putting off a home purchase because of job uncertainty or fear of visiting properties may feel more at ease as vaccinations ramp up, so demand for homes may be higher than ever.

Unfortunately, home inventory has been near record lows, driving up prices and making it difficult for some buyers to find properties. Those who have been waiting to sell until they felt safer inviting people to their homes -- or who have been waiting for the traditional summer buying season -- may be inclined to put their homes on the market in April.

If more properties become available, this will lead to increased sales as buyers who have been waiting for properties have more options. This could be good news if you've been hoping to purchase but haven't yet found a property you like that's within your budget.

Remember, though, that you shouldn't let outside trends drive a big financial decision about when to buy a home. Make sure you're personally prepared for the responsibility you're taking on before you even consider getting mortgage pre-approval or making an offer on a property.

If you're new to the process, check out our first-time home buyers guide for more information on getting started.

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