Published: December 26, 2023 | Updated: December 21, 2023

Housing forecast: Interest rates the key

A "sold" signs hangs outside a home in the Sanders Beach area in this file photo.

A "sold" signs hangs outside a home in the Sanders Beach area in this file photo.

COEUR d’ALENE — Local real estate agents say 2024 probably won't be full of surprises.

“It’s an election year. We will most likely see some swings in interest rates which will have an impact on values,” wrote Jennifer Smock, co-owner and managing broker with Windermere Coeur d’Alene Realty/Post Falls. “However, I tend to believe 2024 will be very similar to 2023.”

Smock said she believes values of homes will remain stable with only a slight increase in pricing. 

“If our interest rates take a dip and with buydowns allowing buyers to get an interest rate with a 5 in front of it, we could see a bit of a surge in interest,” she said. “This may have an effect on pricing, however nothing like we have seen in the past three years.”

Smock said they could see a little less bargaining room for buyers with sellers with increased buyer demand in the local markets. 

“Overall, we have a pretty healthy marketplace currently,” she said. “There is ample opportunity on both sides of the equation."

Chad Oakland, real estate agent and owner with Northwest Realty Group, said he believes sales in the local housing market will be down in 2024 because inventory will remain low and limit buyers' choices.

Oakland expects housing prices will hold steady and new construction will hold its own, as well.

The resale market will be a tough one, he said, especially for buyers if mortgage interest rates stay around 7% on a 30-year fixed-rate loan.

Oakland said those who refinanced or bought a few years ago when rates were around 3% are reluctant to give that up, even if they have to move. Instead, they are keeping their homes and turning them into short- and long-term rentals.

“Why would you sell?” Oakland said.

He noted the monthly payment on a $500,000 loan at 7% would be about $3,400, while it would be around $2,175 at 3%.

Oakland expects to see rates around 6% percent next year, as inflation is easing.

He sees a growing demand for rentals because many people can’t buy homes in the current market. Rents could come down as the rental inventory grows.

Oakland said the 5% range for interest rates is the benchmark that could spark an increase in housing transactions.

"I think that kickstarts our market, locally and nationally,” he said.