What Will the 2024 Spring Homebuying Season Look Like?

March 26, 2024 - 9 min read

With the weather warming up and flowers starting to bloom, it’s natural to get excited about the spring season upon us. But will hope spring eternal for home shoppers and sellers alike over the next few months? What’s in store for us as the national spring home buying season begins?

When in doubt, consult those in the know. So we contacted several trusted housing market experts for their analyses and forecasts about the spring home buying season, including predictions on mortgage rates, home prices, and inventory as well as tips on how house hunters can get a leg up on the competition.

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National housing market trends and stats

Before the pros weigh in, here’s a current assessment of the national real estate market, based on the latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Redfin, and The Mortgage Reports:

  • Existing home sales increased 3.1% in January 2024, reaching a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4 million, although sales declined 1.7% year-over-year, per the NAR.
  • The median price for existing home sales rose by 5.1% to $379,100 in January, marking the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year price increases.
  • Redfin, on the other hand, reports that, in February 2024, the median U.S. home sale price jumped 6.6% year over year—the biggest uptick since September 2022—to $412,778.
  • The inventory of unsold existing homes grew by 2.0% in late January compared to the previous month, totaling 1.01 million homes. This inventory represents a supply equivalent to 3.0 months at the current monthly sales pace.
  • The total supply of homes for sale rose 0.8% in February 2024, the highest level in a year, versus a 3.8% rise in active listing (up 14.8% year-over-year).
  • Median days on the market for listed homes is 48.
  • 1% of homes sold above the final list price in February.
  • 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages are averaging, respectively, 7.09% and 6.59% at the time of this writing (mid-March).

Of course, these numbers can and will change over the next several weeks as spring unfolds. While we don’t have a crystal ball to foresee where the real estate market is headed in the short term, we can turn to our panel of professionals.

What will the 2024 spring homebuying season look like?

With the arrival of spring, many eyes turn towards the real estate market, particularly for individuals aspiring to buy a home. Here’s how industry insiders expect the spring home buying season to shake out, in general.

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Albert Lord, founder/CEO of Lexerd Capital Management: “Housing affordability remains a significant concern, with high home prices and mortgage rates posing challenges for buyers. The ongoing shortage of housing supply, coupled with robust demand, is expected to sustain high home prices this season. And mortgage rates are expected to play a pivotal role in the spring market, too. The recent decline in mortgage rates is anticipated to incentivize buyer activity this spring, and the Federal Reserve’s indication of potential rate cuts in 2024 adds further encouragement. Political factors, including government policies and the upcoming elections, are also likely to affect the housing market. President Biden’s administration has already introduced initiatives to enhance housing affordability, which could include subsidizing down payments and promoting inclusionary zoning.”

Rick Sharga, president/CEO of CJ Patrick Company: “The Fed’s actions have caused mortgage rates to soar, making affordability a problem for buyers and making it economically impossible for many homeowners to sell their homes and buy a new one with a mortgage rate twice as high as their current loan. So even though we are likely to see a slight seasonal uptick in property listings, we are not likely to see much more than a modest year-over-year increase in existing home sales. We’re locked into a cycle with limited supply, pent-up demand, high financing costs, and poor affordability. If we see the typical surge in demand that usually happens in the spring without a commensurate increase in supply, we will probably see sales numbers similar to last year’s lackluster totals, and prices will tick up a bit.”

Mike Hardy, managing partner at Churchill Mortgage: “If we step back and look at this from a 30,000-foot perspective, we have a basic supply and demand issue, as there are significantly more people who need homes than inventory can support. Additionally, new builds are not projected to keep up with the incoming population. Inflation trends will be the key driver this spring, which will directly impact mortgage rates. Higher inflation – and subsequently higher mortgage rates – could cause a slowdown of buyers, with inventory creeping up slightly. On the other hand, falling inflation will likely cause mortgage rates to trend downward, bringing more buyers into the market and creating a bit of a frenzy with multiple offers in many areas where inventory levels are currently much lower than the historical average.”

Dennis Shirshikov, adjunct professor of economics at City University of New York: “The spring market is likely to be driven by a mix of lingering economic recovery signals, environmental considerations, and the political climate. Economic factors such as inflation rates, employment figures, and consumer spending will play critical roles as well. Keep in mind that environmental concerns – including sustainability and energy efficiency – are increasingly influencing buyer preferences. Politically, regulatory changes and fiscal policies will affect market dynamics. Overall, I predict a season characterized by cautious optimism among buyers, with a keen eye on value and sustainability.”

Will home prices fall this spring?

With spring around the corner, hopeful homebuyers are curious: will prices finally ease up? Keeping an eye on market shifts is pivotal for those eyeing their dream homes. Let’s hear real estate experts’ take on whether prices will soften this season.

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Dave Liniger, chairman of RE/MAX: “I don’t believe there will be a significant decline in home prices throughout the United States this spring. It will be dependent on specific regions, whereas there is still tremendous demand in certain areas and less demand in others.”

Martin Orefice, CEO of Rent To Own Labs: “Housing prices may start creeping a bit lower this spring, but they aren’t going to drop so far that they change the fundamental dynamic. Homes, especially starter properties, will remain unaffordable, especially to first-time buyers.”

Ralph DiBugnara, president of Home Qualified: “I believe we will see a trend upward in home prices. With a continued shortage of real estate for sale in most states, prices overall have nowhere to go but up because of lack of supply and high demand.”

Lord: “I believe home prices will rise by 2% this spring, given the imbalances in supply and demand. The prevailing sentiment seems to be that, while prices will continue to rise, the pace of appreciation will slow down. This moderation in price growth is expected to vary across regions, with some markets experiencing price declines. The National Association of Realtors predicts a 1.4% increase in median prices, while Fannie Mae’s forecast estimates an average home price growth of 3.8% across 2024.”

Hardy: “I expect to see home prices rise over the next few months. There are simply more buyers that need and want housing than there are homes available for sale. We are seeing real-time reports of open houses with 50 to 100 people attending and multiple offers. It remains an absolute feeding frenzy in markets with low levels of inventory.”

Sharga: “On a national basis, home prices are probably going to continue to increase in the 2024 spring buying season for two reasons. First, prices almost always peak during the spring and summer months, and this year isn’t likely to be any different. Second, demand also tends to peak during this period and is expected to overwhelm the limited supply of homes available for sale.”

Will mortgage interest rates drop this season?

As the spring home buying season approaches, prospective buyers and homeowners eagerly anticipate shifts in mortgage rates, which can significantly impact the affordability and dynamics of the real estate market.

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Here are insights from real estate experts on whether they predict mortgage rates to drop:

Hardy: “Rates will likely trend down over the next 12 months, but expect some volatility. Mortgage rates have historically moved in tandem and track with inflation. Each time interest rates have dropped by 1%, roughly five million additional people have been able to afford a home that previously could not qualify. So if rates drop from the current territory of about 6.75% to 5.75%, I expect we will have approximately five million more people who can purchase a home this spring.”

Jason Gelios, a Realtor in Southeast Michigan: “Mortgage rates should trend lower this season, with the rumor of the Federal Reserve decreasing the rate twice this year. While we won’t see mortgage rates drop to the 2% to 3% range anytime soon, we will see some relief in the spring to summer 2024 homebuying season.”

Lord: “I foresee modest declines in mortgage rates, with the 30-year mortgage rate averaging 6.9% this spring. What will drive rate declines is not so much the current interest rate climate but the expectation for future declines in interest rates based on the Fed’s data-dependent analysis.”

Shirhikov: “Mortgage rates are expected to fluctuate this season. Should the Fed decide to cut rates to stimulate the economy, we could see a temporary dip, making the spring buying season more attractive. However, buyers should remain vigilant, as rates are subject to rapid changes based on broader economic signals.”

What will inventory look like over the next few months?

The availability of homes for sale plays a crucial role in shaping market dynamics and influencing buyer decisions. Here are insights from real estate experts regarding their predictions for home inventory this spring:

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Liniger: “Presently, there is a significant demand for residential property driven by younger generations like Millennials and Generation Z, who dominate the market and account for 50% of the current workforce. However, despite a tremendous number of buyers, insufficient inventory remains a challenge. There probably won’t be much change over the next three months unless there is interest rate assistance from the government. Younger generations who have become used to previous lower interest rates at 2.5% to 5% will also eventually come to terms with current interest rates sitting at 7% to 8%.”

Hardy: “I anticipate a slight rise in inventory in the short term. As rates get noticeably lower and into the 5% range, this supply trend will change, as another wave of buyers will enter the market and we will see inventory start to drop.”

Shirshikov: “Inventory levels are anticipated to slightly increase in certain areas, driven by new construction and sellers entering the market to capitalize on stable prices. However, overall supply will likely remain tight, continuing the trend of a seller’s market in many areas. This scarcity underpins the importance of strategic buying and selling decisions.”

Orefice: “Inventory will remain too low to meet demand, especially in pricey urban and suburban markets, although some new construction – especially of apartments – may take the edge off.”

Sharga: “Supply is likely to increase during the spring, coming off near-record lows from a year ago. This increase might be a little misleading, as it’s only partly due to a bump in new listings and also partly because it’s taking a bit longer to sell properties once they are listed. Even with this seasonal increase, we may still have somewhere between 30% and 40% fewer homes available for sale than we did before the pandemic. On the other hand, we should continue to see an increase in the number of new homes for sale, as January building permits increased by 8.6% from January 2023, and single-family housing starts were up as well.”

Tactics buyers can take for better success this spring

As we gear up for the spring home buying season, it’s vital for aspiring homeowners to adopt smart strategies to boost their chances of finding their dream home.

Here’s some friendly advice from real estate experts sharing tactics to help you navigate the market and enhance your prospects this spring:

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Shishikov: “Shoppers can adapt several unique strategies to enhance their chances of securing a desired home. Explore off-market properties, leverage technology for virtual tours and faster decision-making, and consider alternative financing options. Engaging with a real estate professional who has a deep understanding of specific local markets can also provide a competitive edge. Above all, remain adaptable, informed, and ready to act decisively.”

Hardy: “I suggest 10 ways that can help buyers get an offer accepted this spring. First, get fully approved for a mortgage before you make an offer. Second, work with a reputable real estate agent. Third, make an offer above the asking price. Fourth, be flexible with the closing date. Fifth, limit or waive any contingencies in your offer. Sixth, use an escalation clause in your offer. Seventh, offer to cover certain seller expenses. Eight, increase your earnest money deposit. Ninth, offer a $10,000 performance guarantee. And tenth, have your lender or agent send a personal video or letter from you to the seller to stand out from other buyers.”

Orefice: “If there’s a home you are really after, you need to be prepared to make an offer over the asking price or, better yet, a cash offer.”

DiBugnara: “Homes that need TLC are going to be among the only value buys right now. If you can find a home that has manageable repairs, it’s best to go that route. There are more renovation loans available today that can help with this process.”

The bottom line

The experts agree: A variety of economic, political, environmental, and unpredictable factors will drive the 2024 spring homebuying season.

Of course, many of these elements are out of your control. Still, you can put yourself in a better position to find, afford, and close on a desirable home for sale this spring by doing your homework, learning about market conditions, making preparations as early as possible, and partnering with a seasoned real estate professional.

Erik J. Martin
Authored By: Erik J. Martin
The Mortgage Reports contributor
Erik J. Martin has written on real estate, business, tech and other topics for Reader's Digest, AARP The Magazine, and The Chicago Tribune.
Aleksandra Kadzielawski
Reviewed By: Aleksandra Kadzielawski
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Aleksandra is the Senior Editor at The Mortgage Reports, where she brings 10 years of experience in mortgage and real estate to help consumers discover the right path to homeownership. Aleksandra received a bachelor’s degree in finance from DePaul University. She is also a licensed real estate agent in Arizona and a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR).