3 Trends Home Buyers Should Watch in September

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Looking to buy in September? Here's what to know.

Buying a home is a big commitment. After all, you're signing up for a mortgage that you may be paying off over the next 30 years of your life. If you're interested in buying a home today, it's important to take the pulse of the real estate market. Here are three trends to keep on your radar as you begin your search.

1. Mortgage rates will likely remain competitive

Mortgage rates have been at attractive levels since the start of 2021. And there's no reason to think that trend won't continue into September.

As of this writing, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed loan is 3.070%. Rates can vary based on location, so in some parts of the country, they may be higher or lower. But for the most part, expect to find affordable financing for a home -- assuming you have a strong credit score when you apply for your mortgage.

2. Home values will likely remain high

A big reason so many buyers have struggled to purchase homes this year is that property values have skyrocketed nationally. And that's unlikely to change in September.

Recently, Realtor.com reported that the median listing price for homes reached $385,000, representing a 10.3% increase from the previous year. Homes in large metro areas saw a smaller average price gain of 3.9%. But if you're buying in the near term, expect to pay more for a home than you might have a year ago.

3. Homes could sell very quickly

Since the start of the year, the housing market has experienced a serious lack of inventory. Some of that may relate to economic concerns on sellers' parts, and some of it may stem from wanting to ride out the pandemic and sell at a more stable time. But no matter the reason, there's a glaring lack of homes on the market, and so the competition is incredibly fierce.

In July, the average home spent just 38 days on the market before selling. In July of 2020, the typical home spent 60 days on the market -- and mortgage rates were just as competitive as they are today, if not more so.

If you're planning to buy a home soon, know that you probably won't have much cushion time to make offers. If you see a home you like, prepare to pounce on it. In fact, it's wise to embark on your house hunt with a mortgage pre-approval letter in hand. That can give you an edge over other buyers.

Should you buy a home in September?

From a mortgage-rate perspective, September will likely be a great time to purchase a home. But based on high prices and low inventory, buyers will face challenges.

If you're planning to buy, know what you're getting into. And have a backup plan in case you don't find a suitable home or get an offer accepted. That could mean talking to your landlord about a month-to-month lease (if you're going from renting to owning), or figuring out another arrangement that buys you the flexibility you need.

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