John Bitely: Consumer confidence in housing market on the rise as home prices fall

In a Jan. 9 CNBC report, consumer confidence in the national housing market is finally on the rise after home prices peaked six months ago, thanks to falling home prices. In West Michigan, home prices slightly mirror the national trend even when demand remains high, according to Sable Homes President John Bitely.

The Rockford-based home builder is seeing a continued high demand for local existing homes, not only for individuals, but for landlords, who are buying area homes at an unprecedented rate to diversify their rental portfolios.

“As rental rates continue to skyrocket, landlords are buying our existing homes to provide an affordable, well-built option for their rental clients,” said Bitely. “We still have plenty of housing inventory for local home buyers. Now that mortgage rates are also on the downfall, combined with lower prices, we’ll see begin to see housing affordability improve in West Michigan, giving the market an extra boost.”

More consumers now believe home prices will fall in the next 12 months, and more also said they believe mortgage rates will come down, according to CNBC.

Prices in November 2022, the most recent measurement, were 2.5% lower than the spring 2022 peak, according to CoreLogic. They were still over 8% higher year over year, but that annual comparison is now half of what it was in June, CNBC reported.

The average rate on the popular 30-year fixed mortgage hit a recent high of 7.37% in October 2022, but then fell back into the mid-6% range throughout November and into December. As of Jan 6, 2023, it had dropped to 6.2%, according to Mortgage News Daily.