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Realtors say now is still a good time to buy and sell despite higher interest rates

real estate sign says for sale
Joshua Rainey Photography
Despite higher interest rates, realtors say now is still a good time to buy and sell homes.

The housing market in Northeast Ohio is beginning to cool as interest rates rise, inventory in some areas goes back up and people have less time to spend house hunting. But even with inflation, realtors say now is still a good time to buy and sell.

Gregg Wasilko is a realtor with Howard Hanna Real Estate Services in the Cleveland area. He said he began to see the market slow down a couple months ago.

“I just think that people were exhausted from trying to buy houses in a highly competitive market, and we just had low inventory," Wasilko said. "All those things combined started to create a softer market as of June.”

He thinks people coming out of their pandemic mindsets is part of the reason why he's seeing this trend.

"People had more time to look because of COVID," Wasilko said. "People were thinking different ways about the houses they live in because of COVID."

Efforts to control inflation have led to rising interest rates for home loans since June, to about 5%, a shock from the pandemic’s lows of around 3%. Ralph Mantica with Ohio REALTORS said these rates are beginning to push some people out of the market.

"The rise in interest rates have made some people reconsider," Mantica said, "and in all honestly, the rise in interest rates probably are keeping a few people out of the market that may have qualified when the rates were back at 3% compared to 5.5% or 5.6%."

But Wasilko doesn’t think those rates make homeownership unattainable. He expects rates to stabilize or come down at the beginning of next year.

Dean Mickley is a realtor with Howard Hanna in Stark County. He thinks the housing market will continue to be active through the end of the year.

“I don’t see it being any significantly different between now and the first," Mickley said.

Mantica thinks interest rates are going to rise in the next few months.

"All the economists out there think they're probably going to rise a little bit after the election," Mantica said. "You know, no one knows for certain how high."

Wasilko agrees that rates will rise until next year but hopes buyers will get some relief after that.

"We're seeing that a lot of people are thinking that the rates might rise maybe until the first of the year, and then hopefully as we start to tame inflation maybe at the beginning of next year, rates will either stabilized or maybe will begin to come down a little bit," Wasilko said. "But nobody's really sure."

Although inventory is up in Stark, other areas like Cuyahoga County are still struggling with demand outpacing supply. Despite this, Mantica still thinks it’s a good time to buy.

“Homeownership is still very attainable in Ohio," Mantica said, "and we fight to keep it there.”

Even with the volatility of the housing market these past few years, Mantica said overall, Ohio's market is pretty stable.

"In Ohio even during the downtimes it's never been really down. You know the Midwest is kind of stable," Mantica said. "We're kind of the rock in the whole equation sometimes."

All three realtors noted this cooldown is coming as the housing market typically slows for the season with back to school and the holidays causing many sellers to hold off on putting their homes on the market for now. But Wasilko reiterated that the market is not dead.

"It is still a good time to sell a home if you're a seller, and buyers really are still in a good position to buy a home at a 5% interest rate ," Wasilko said. "It's really a good time to buy."

Abigail Bottar covers Akron, Canton, Kent and the surrounding areas for Ideastream Public Media.