Mortgage rates are rising, making life more difficult for local first-time homebuyers

If you’re a homebuyer hoping for a break in home selling prices amid rising mortgage rates, that’s probably not going to happen this year. News 3 caught up with a Hampton Roads real estate agent and potential buyer who said you have to be very competitive.

The housing market has been unforgiving for first-time home buyers. With higher interest rates and its constant one-upmanship, it was a constant struggle.

Margarita Gardner, First-Time Home Buyer “I’ve snapped at times, and my real estate agent would just say it’s okay, we’ll get through this.”

What is usually a happy time looking for your first home has become very stressful for Gardner.

“I’m practically in tears, because it just takes a long time. Then the competition, there’s poor quality of homes,” Gardner said.

It took 6 months for Gardner to buy her first house, she rented most of her life. But like many other buyers, she has seen price spikes and bidding wars, due to high demand and a lack of available homes.

“I need a house with a bedroom on the first floor. There aren’t many of them at the moment, and it’s not a good market to buy. I got discouraged and just thought about taking a break,” Gardner said.

As inflation continues to rise, aspiring homeowners now face a new challenge, with interest rates now rising to 5%.

Real estate agent Barry Jenkins says when interest rates go up to 5.6%, you’re probably going to fetch between $2,200 and $2,400 a month.

According to Jenkins, the average price of homes listed in Hampton Roads hit a record high of $405,000 last month. As people’s money is stretched by inflation, Gardner said finding a home makes it unaffordable.

“To win, I had to do things that I really didn’t think I had to do, but I had to do things to make more money,” Gardner said.

“My best advice for someone buying right now is to have an open conversation with your agent and mortgage officer. The truth is, data is wiped,” Jenkins said.

As for owning versus renting, News3 asked Jenkins if it makes sense to buy right now? Or should people just rent?

“When you rent, there’s a landlord who takes advantage of your monthly rent, so by definition it’s always going to be more,” Jenkins said.

“I’ve been renting for too long for too long, it was time to buy,” Gardner said.

According to real estate agents as of now, they don’t see housing market rates and interest rates dropping any time soon. Also, when it comes to people renting, that’s up 20% on Hampton Roads. Realtors said that for families looking to buy a home, there is a program through the Virginia Housing Authority where you can buy with no down payment, giving people the option to buy, but in you connecting with a lender that offers this government program.

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