Illustration of families in front of their houses


The Housing Market’s Big Question: Buy Now or Wait?

With interest rates in flux and inventory in short supply, buyers are wondering how to time their move.

The spring season is generally regarded as the start of the real estate industry’s busiest months of the year. But as the weather warms up, many would-be buyers are stressing over the timing of their move. Questions around the rise or fall of interest rates—which have hovered in the high 6% mark during the first half of 2024—paired with historically low inventory are giving many a cause for pause.

So what’s a buyer (or seller) to do? We asked readers of The Wall Street Journal who are considering buying a home to share what’s making them question if now is the right time to dive into the real estate market. Below are their most frequently asked questions, along with answers and insights from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ network leaders.

I’m considering buying a home this spring but am worried that prices may fall later in the year. Do you recommend buying now or waiting to see how prices fare?

Rod Messick, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty:

When it comes to home prices and timing a market, it’s very much like any other investment. Timing a market perfectly is a very challenging thing to do, just like if you were buying a stock or a bond or any other investment  The Wall Street Journal  covers on a regular basis. So I think the key is for buyers to focus on their needs around real estate—what their lifestyle demands are or their work constraints might be. All the things that drive homeownership and housing in general should be the focus and not necessarily on market timing.

Now, that being said, there are more indications of price pressure upward than price pressure going down. We’re still looking at an environment where inventory is constrained. There are more buyers than sellers. If interest rates continue to improve, that will just create a larger buyer pool than what we currently are dealing with, resulting in even more competition for a relatively limited amount of inventory. The only thing that might change that forecast would be a change to our current economic conditions. A recession that would cause people to lose their jobs would most likely increase “distress sales” and would impact prices on the downward side. 

Illustration of Rod Messick
Illustration of Rod Messick

Rod Messick

CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty

If we buy a larger home now, is it worth retaining our current home as a rental property?

Melanie Weidenbach, President and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate:

That decision really hinges significantly on your unique financial objectives and personal circumstances. Consulting with a real estate agent as well as your own financial advisor is key to determining how this asset may enhance your overall financial picture.

For many, retaining your former home may provide benefits such as an additional income stream or tax advantages, depending on the specific circumstances. Others may see benefits in asset diversification and the long-term wealth-building that comes with property appreciation and equity accumulation. 

I would say to those who are evaluating opportunities and really looking at their own particular markets, real estate, at the end of the day, is local, and so working with a local real estate professional on the rental demand and appreciation in your local market is going to help you make those decisions.


Melanie Weidenbach

President and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate

Illustration of Melanie Weidenbach
Illustration of Melanie Weidenbach

Our children live in areas with much higher real estate costs. If the housing shortage continues, will waiting only increase the cost of our move there?

Ginger Holmes, Principal Broker and Owner, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Woodmont Realty:

We’re getting so many buyers moving here to Nashville with this exact question. While every market is different, I think most markets in the country are experiencing home appreciation. Even in 2023, I think there was a 5%-plus appreciation in most markets. So a $500,000 house at even a 5% appreciation becomes a $525,000 house. I think it’s smart not to delay if you have the financial means and know the market you’re moving to. Purchasing now only helps start building equity that will likely grow in 2024.

There’s still a shortage of inventory and we don’t see that changing much this year. So if someone has the financial means to move to a new market and knows where they want to be, I think now is absolutely the best time. You can always refinance when the rates come down, but if you find yourself waiting until then to actually buy, there will be a lot of buyers also waiting for rates to come down who will be your competition. You might find yourself in the situation we experienced during COVID-19, when intense competition made it so buyers couldn’t get inspection repairs done or ask for appraisal contingencies. Right now, buyers are often able to ask for those things or negotiate more, which is another reason why I think now’s a great time to buy. 

Illustration of Ginger Holmes
Illustration of Ginger Holmes

Ginger Holmes

Principal Broker and Owner, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Woodmont Realty

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*This article was previously published on on May 17, 2024. Custom Content from WSJ is a unit of The Wall Street Journal advertising department. The Wall Street Journal news organization was not involved in the creation of this content.