Those sky-high rates proved an insurmountable barrier for many mortgage professionals in conversations with clients who simply saw no justification to enter the market as likely borrowing costs continued to climb.
However, Russell said green shoots were emerging for the mortgage market – and that those originators who were able to weather the recent turbulence would be well positioned to capitalize on a possible market uptick in the year ahead.
“If that happens in my business [buyers moving to the sidelines] for a certain amount of time, it’s not really ideal,” he said. “So we’re definitely turning the corner. I think that those professionals that have made it through the storm, this year moving forward, it’ll be very, very good for us.”
Is there room for optimism on the affordability front?
Still, a caveat: despite plummeting sales activity in 2023, there remains little relief for buyers on the affordability front. The median sale price actually rose year over year, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), inching upwards by 1% to $389,800 – and while national supply increased towards the end of the year, it remained rooted well below pre-pandemic levels.
“I don’t think it’s even hyper-focused in markets – whether it’s New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Texas, Florida, or California, I feel like the inventory piece is certainly an issue,” Russell said.