San Antonio housing market coming back down to Earth

SAN ANTONIO – Sales of existing homes dropped again last month, signaling the market is calming down from the pandemic frenzy.

Derek Aguilar is house hunting for his mom – again. Last summer, they just gave up.

“Prices were high,” he said. “People were outbidding us. We’d put in an offer. We’d be a little over asking, and somebody else would come in even further over asking.”

There are signs the wild pandemic housing market, defined by intense bidding wars, sticker shock, and rock-bottom mortgage rates is calming down.

Last month, existing home sales dropped yet again, down 28 percent compared to the same time last year, according to figures from the San Antonio Board of Realtors.

And the median price of those homes sold was $300,000, the same as last year, evidence that prices are moderating.

Homes are taking longer to sell, sitting on the market for about two months instead of a few weeks.

Some sellers are now even reducing their listing prices. Last spring, sellers were getting, on average, 100 to 101 percent of their asking price. In February, it was more like 93.5 percent.

“The market started shifting in July,” said Monique Cardenas, realtor with Frontline Properties Group. “So, now, our buyers have a lot more opportunities to get the home that they’re looking for.”

Simply put, she says buyers finally have more power. While higher mortgage rates impact buyers’ wallets, they also level demand and cool off soaring prices.

“We are past the three percent interest rates and multiple offer situations,” Cardenas said. “So, it’s really about educating our clients right now.”

With the spring buying season here, she says sales are picking up, adding that updated homes that are priced correctly will sell.

“If it’s not the topmost desirable home, sellers off the bat are already offering to pay their closing costs,” she said.

Buyers with FHA loans are also getting a break. Next week, new rules cut those mortgage insurance costs by 30 percent.

As for the Aguilar, he’s seeing more options and more hope.

“We’re hoping not to be in the same situation as over the summer,” he said.

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