When Is the Right Time to Buy a Home in San Diego?
(this article was updated May 24th, 2019)
“Is now a good time to buy a house?”
That is the question I get from clients and potential clients all the time, and my answer always starts out the same way... “My crystal ball broke yesterday.” In other words, it’s extremely difficult to predict where home prices will be in the next 3-4 years, and even economists disagree about what the future holds for the housing market.
That being said, here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about purchasing a home in today’s San Diego housing market...
A. San Diego has been experiencing a strong seller’s market for the last several years. This trend has extended across many areas and price ranges, and although some of the higher-priced neighborhoods seem to be softening, the rising home values doesn’t seem to be letting up in many parts of San Diego, especially under $600,000. The rising market has been driven by a combination of low inventory, low interest rates, and strong buyer demand, all of which have driven home values up.
B. Of course, it’s ideal to perfectly time the market when buying a home in order to purchase when prices are low and get the most bang for your buck (but most people who timed the market perfectly did it by pure chance). On the flip side, many buyers purchasing in a declining market are also concerned about prices continuing to fall after they buy (which could obviously impact their home’s resale value).
C. Current interest rates are around 4%, which is low. A more normal range is around 5.5%. As interest rates rise, it will affect what people can afford, and eventually rising rates will cause home values to level out or fall. The time you DON’T want to buy is when both interest rates AND home prices are high (unless you really need a place to live and you’re planning for the long term). But these things can be difficult to predict.
So when is the right time to buy a home?
To me, it comes down to these four questions:
1. Can you afford it?
2. Can you find a home that you love in your price range?
3. Do you have options for what to do with the property long term (because if you know you will need to sell it in one or two years, you may lose money)?
4. Does the purchase fit with your family’s long-term financial plan?
There is no easy, one-size-fits-all guide to the right time to buy a home in San Diego. But if you answered “no” to any of these questions, renting may still be your best option. And there is nothing wrong with renting! Read my article about the top five reasons to rent in San Diego.
If you answered yes to those four questions, then now may be a good time for you to buy - no matter what is going on with interest rates and home values. I recommend that we meet for a Buyer Strategy session in which we can discuss your specific situation, what you’re looking for in a home, and how I can help you.