Ever hear the adage, “the more things change, the more things stay the same?”

Experts at Trulia predict that three areas of concern for homebuyers in 2018, tight inventory, rising home prices and rising interest rates, will continue to concern homebuyers in 2019. So how can you as a real estate agent help your new buyer deal with these concerns?

In terms of inventory, you might suggest that your clients look at properties below their budget, rather than above it in hopes of negotiating the price down, so they can spend what they save on upgrading the property to their own liking. They’ll have a house with their own design choices and they’ll be able to think of their eventual return on investment.

Suggest that your clients look at old and/or expired listings. Rather than something being “wrong” with those listings, they may have been poorly priced. Also, if your clients have some flexibility in their timing, suggest that they anticipate “coming soon” listings you may know about that may better suit their needs/wants than what is currently available.

In terms of expensive prices, remind your clients that down payments do not have to be expensive. Most people pay a down payment of 5%-10%, not 20%. Suggest they also look at FHA and VA loans as options.

In terms of rising interest rates, yes, interest rates are at a 10-year high and will increase a bit more in 2019 but, interest rates are coming off historic lows. Comparatively speaking, interest rates are still below average. To help offset those rates, suggest that your clients look at various loan structures, prices and locations. No one can change interest rates but anyone can change their list of house needs and wants.

Trulia came up with 10 markets for new buyers to watch in 2019 based on job growth, vacancy rates, affordability, percentage of inbound searches and above average populations of first-time buyers. Those top 10 markets are…

  1. Colorado Springs CO – great school ratings; moderate prices; above average median incomes
    1. Outdoorsy types and fans of mountain views like SW Colorado Springs
    2. NE Colorado Springs is family friendly with a university vibe.
  2. Grand Rapids MI – fast growing; second largest city in state; known for arts scene
    1. Alger Heights is a sidewalk friendly neighborhood.
    2. Heritage Hill’s historic district has beautiful architecture.
  3. Jacksonville FL – both green (city half filled with trees) and ocean access
    1. Normandy Estate neighborhood is family friendly with good schools.
    2. Murray Hill has great bungalows.
  4. Austin TX – hip; SXSW; artsy; nightlife; food scene; tech scene
    1. SE Austin known for being family friendly.
    2. Zilker neighborhood known for shopping and cycling.
  5. Bakersfield CA
  6. Fresno CA
  7. Phoenix AZ
  8. Columbia SC
  9. El Paso TX
  10. Oklahoma City OK