Ashley Mason, a mortgage loan originator with Home USA Mortgage, says it’s time homebuyers hear from a local professional on what’s happening in the market.
The Ahwatukee mother of two contends there is too much misinformation circulating online about recessions that is not immediately applicable to the Phoenix-Metro market.
Mason cautions potential buyers against using generic, “bad” news shared online to make very specific, local decisions.
“I want those in the market to hear directly from an insider on what the good news is,” she said.
Talking to a loan officer [or originator] is the best way to go” when trying to check the pulse of the market, she said, adding that a local expert can “give you information that makes sense for your credit, your down payment, and other financial situations you may have” within the correct context of local market trends.
Mason offers three considerations for homebuyers to dispel several now-common fears causing many to hesitate, or wait altogether, on their purchase.
First, Mason addresses a pending recession with, “Don’t feel scared to buy.” Millennials, especially, are worried and hesitating to purchase homes because of what they’ve witnessed in the 2008 market crash.
“I get asked weekly, sometimes daily: Do you think the market is going to crash?”
No one wants to end up upside-down in a large loan, however, said Mason, who has worked in the mortgage industry since 2014.
“The market indicators from the Great Recession are very different than market indicators now. Some indicate a recession, but not necessarily a [concurrent] housing crash,” she added.
Some of the key differences she has noted include more conservative lending guidelines and better credit profiles for applicants, overall. Prior “loose lending” practices placed buyers into high-risk mortgage contracts that could not be realistically sustained.
Most buyers are now sticking to safer 30-year, fixed interest rate mortgages, compared to the initially attractive, but riskier adjustable rate mortgages (ARM).
Trends such as these, “will avoid a crash,” Mason feels.
Next, Mason claims home values and buyer competition are relatively stable now. “The dust from COVID-related market influences is starting to settle,” she reported.
Though the housing market is always shifting, “Phoenix inventory is on the rise,” she said, adding that this means sellers will need to be less aggressive with their asking prices because buyers have more options.
“At the beginning of the year, the Phoenix-Metro area hovered around 5,000 available houses,” Mason said. “Right now, we are hovering around 10 to 12,000.”
These numbers could be reflecting the seasonal sales typical for summer, but in general, Mason said buyers can expect to see sky-high asking prices curbed.
Additionally, “In order to have a balanced market, we need about 30,000 available homes.”
Mason predicts that the tension between supply and demand will ensure home values, “continue to increase, even through a recession.”
Finally, on rising interest rates, Mason said they “may be higher than those of two years ago, but historically, they are very low.”
Since real estate is a long-term investment, “you may come into it this year around 5%, but that doesn’t last forever.”
Due to the pricing spikes seen in the last few years, climbing home values ensure, “buyers will still be gaining equity.”
Loan rates will eventually decline again and Mason suggests pre-planning for an opportunity to refinance. Homeowners can watch for future offers that will reduce monthly payments by at least $200.00 or those that provide terms that can drop interest rates by 0.5% or more.
There are usually upfront costs to re-fi, but even with those rolled back into the new loan, Mason said, “it saves homeowners huge amounts in the long run.”
Mason has been an Ahwatukee resident for seven years and started her career in mortgages as a loan processor, working behind-the-scenes.
“I know how to streamline the process, educate them on the product, lay it out in a simple way, then get a loan from A to Z as quickly as possible.”
Mason believes that asking questions and discussing concerns about making major financial decisions does not have to be an uncomfortable situation.
She encourages Ahwatukee residents to reach out, even in the preemptive stages of home buying, adding “Informed pre-planning, even years in advance, is appropriate, and can be done with no sales pressure.”