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The housing market is changing so fast that waiting just 3 months can mean you’re paying an extra 20%

April 20, 2022, 5:54 PM UTC

Waiting even a few weeks in the current housing market can cost buyers tens of thousands of dollars, according to a shocking new analysis of housing data by real estate firm Zillow.

Rising mortgage rates combined with astronomical home prices mean that buyers in March paid almost 20% more each month for the standard 30-year mortgage compared to those who bought in January 2022, and 38% more compared to one year ago, Zillow calculated in its March 2022 Market Report.

The average 30-year mortgage rate has jumped from 3.11% in December 2021 to 5% as of last week—the highest rate in over a decade. Typically when interest rates rise, prices stabilize. But in this atypical housing market, prices have only continued to increase.

Here’s how the math shakes out: Zillow puts the typical home value in March at $337,560. With a 20% down payment and a 30-year fixed rate, homeowners would pay around $1,316 per month for the typical home, compared to $1,167 at the beginning of the year when the same house cost $327,102 and rates were lower. That’s a $50,000 difference.

The difference is even starker when compared to March 2021. Then, per Zillow, the typical home value was $279,883 and the average monthly mortgage payment was $954. Buyers who waited one year could be paying over $130,000 more for the same home.

The market may finally start to cool (from red-hot to hot)

Though the market has only gotten increasingly competitive over the past two years, the increase in rates and prices may be enough to dampen enthusiasm over the next few months, although Zillow clarifies that a market downswing is not likely.

“Slowing price growth will not end with prices actually falling, and in fact, the market should remain hot by historical standards for many months to come,” Zillow reports. “There is a long way to go before we reach a supply glut, and there is plenty of pent-up home-buying demand to work through.”

“Agents who have been in this for decades, this is the wildest market they’ve ever seen,” says Neda Navab, president of brokerage operations at Compass.

In fact, existing home sales were down in March for the second month in a row, and mortgage applications are also falling. Some buyers are being priced out, while others lose their mortgage eligibility when they can no longer meet their lender’s debt-to-income-ratio requirements.

“The housing market is starting to feel the impact of sharply rising mortgage rates and higher inflation taking a hit on purchasing power,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said in a press release. “Still, homes are selling rapidly, and home price gains remain in the double digits.”

To Yun’s latter point, buyers didn’t seem put off by March’s record asking prices, according to Zillow. Inventory rose 11.6% in March compared to the month prior, and newly pending sales matched the increase. The median listing lasted just nine days on the market, two days fewer than in February.

Want to share how your current home search going? Email reporter Alicia Adamczyk for a future story.