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Homebuyers Planning to Purchase in 2023 View Now as a Good Time to Buy

Amid cooling inflation and rising housing costs, many first-time homebuyers feel more certain about their financial situations, according to a recent study from TD Bank.  TD's First-Time Homebuyer Pulse found that 54% of respondents indicate they are now better off financially than they were two years ago. And while homebuyers' perception of the economy and affordability continue to draw concern, rising rent may be driving homeownership interest.

First-Time Homebuyers Maintain Optimistic Outlook Despite Uncertain Economy

Among those looking to purchase a home for the first time in 2023, 39% believe now is a good time to buy. Many who have begun their process are also showing signs of preparedness with 48% starting to save for a downpayment. Additionally, some 85% of respondents indicated buying a home was a good long-term investment.

Though first-time homebuyers are looking more optimistically toward the homebuying season, reservations remain, with a majority (69%) concerned about the economy, and 64% concerned about their ability to afford a home with rising interest rates.  That worry persists for six in ten respondents when considering the ability to afford a home combined with other expenses.

"Although typically overlooked when beginning the search for a home, meeting with a lender can help first-time buyers better understand the additional costs and opportunities associated with homeownership," said Steve Kaminski, Head of U.S. Residential Lending at TD Bank. "Against the backdrop of higher rates, continued inflation, and low housing inventory, it is especially important for consumers to speak with mortgage professionals and realtors early in the process to create a well-adjusted budget and identify a comfortable price range for their homebuying search, better positioning them to compete and make an offer on the home that meets their unique goals."

Rate hikes have also fueled some good financial habits, including the 43% of participants who cited that they have started monitoring their credit report or taken steps to improve their credit score to potentially reduce interest rates for their home loans. Some 48% have also established a homeownership budget for their first-time home purchase this year.

Rising Rent Costs Push Homebuying Interest

As you may expect, an estimated 38% renters have considered delaying their home purchase and continuing to rent in 2023. Among them, 30% said the top reason for potentially delaying their homebuying plans is an inability to afford the home they want due to rising interest rates.

However, many have had the opposite reaction, seeing rising rent costs as a stimulus to forge ahead with purchasing a home. Of those survey participants who have not considered delaying their home purchase, 40% cited rising rent prices as the top reason prompting them to move forward with buying a home.

"Even as rates have risen in comparison to the historically low-interest rate environment many experienced in the past two years, buyers see the importance of building equity in a home purchase," said Kaminski. "Homeownership has and continues to be a sustainable way to build intergenerational wealth, while providing the added benefit of shoring up a buyers' financial position over the long-term."

Homebuyers Make Lemonade Out of the Big Lemon – Rising Rates

While inflation and rising rates are two factors first-time homebuyers can't control, some are rethinking their approach to provide some flexibility in the home buying process. In fact, 59% of those looking to purchase a home this year indicate they want to pursue a fixer-upper or starter home.

More than one-third (34%) of those who plan to buy a fixer-upper or starter home are seeking a more affordable home. More than half (52%) of those planning to buy a fixer-upper or starter home cited that current market conditions impacted their decision.

Homebuyers aren't just getting creative with the type of home they're looking to purchase. They're also coming up with long-term solutions to combat the current rate environment. More than one-fourth (27%) plan to refinance when interest rates come down.

"Depending on a buyer's personal financial situation, how long they expect to be in the home and other risk-based considerations, there may be alternate mortgage options to consider in the near- and long-term when it comes to financing a home," said Kaminski. "But it's always important to talk through those options to weigh the benefits and risks with a mortgage professional early in the process."

To read the full report, including more data, charts and methodology, click here.

About Author: Demetria Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for DS News and MReport magazines with more than eight years of writing experience. She has served as content coordinator and copy editor for the Los Angeles Daily News and the Orange County Register, in addition to 11 other Southern California publications. A former editor-in-chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington, she has covered events such as the Byron Nelson and Pac-12 Conferences, progressing into her freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, Lester is an avid jazz lover and likes to read. She can be reached at [email protected].

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