If you’re a prospective first-time homebuyer in the Bay Area, or you know someone that fits that description, you likely won’t be surprised by a recent report that says California is the most challenging state for first-time homebuyers. Demand for housing is at a fever pitch and supply is notably low. Younger people looking to finally make their dreams of homeownership a reality are facing an uphill battle. This can be extremely frustrating to those who have worked hard, saved and planned, yet still can’t quite get there. I’ve written about this sort of thing before, but this newest study confirms how difficult things are in the Golden State.
What Is Going On?
A number of factors contribute to this squeeze on first-time home buyers. In addition to the normal supply and demand issues I mentioned above, increasing mortgage rates are forcing buyers to tighten their budgets and look to somewhat cheaper homes than they may have considered previously…including those homes that would most appeal to the budget of a first-time home buyer. Now the demand for homes is being more heavily concentrated in certain price ranges, exacerbating the problem for all homebuyers, particularly those with the least resources. I’ll give you one guess which group that is.
Speaking of limited resources, it is becoming more and more difficult to obtain financing for a home, with higher rates for those who do qualify. We’ve seen this happening for months now, and there’s no end in sight. And the problem with THIS is that in California, particularly in areas like Silicon Valley, there are a relatively miniscule amount of what could be considered “cheap” homes. Due to a variety of factors, homes here are genrally just expensive. It’s no coincidence that the most difficult state for first-time home buyers also happens to contain many of the most expensive real estate markets in the country. It can take years (decades, even) to work one’s way up to the level of income necessary to afford even a lower-end home, and tighter financing requirements coupled with higher monthly mortgage payments can make even that seem out of reach.
There are other elements at play here as well, which the article I linked at the beginning touches upon. Different generational spending habits, high rents, and the difficulty obtaining the funds to make a down payment are among the other problematic elements for younger homebuyers. Taken together, it almost seems that those seeking starter homes might have to give up on their California dreaming entirely. But that’s not necessarily the case.
So What Can a First-Time Homebuyer Do?
If you’re a first-time homebuyer like those I’ve mentioned above, my advice to you would be: don’t despair! Yes, the situation may be frustrating, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. All it means is that you should seek the services of an experienced realtor with a wealth of local knowledge and connections. Might I humbly suggest myself and my team for the task?
The reality of the situation is this: no, it won’t be easy. Few things worth doing are, as the saying goes. But there’s a huge difference between “not easy” and “impossible.” And, as another saying goes, it’s all about who you know.
Specifically, a good real estate agent should have a huge network of clients, prospects and other agents, all working together for a common goal: getting people into the homes they want to be in. So it stands to reason that these agents will be the best equipped to discover a good deal on the right situation for a client of theirs, even a first-time homebuyer. In addition, the agent’s experience and knowledge can help guide a client through the process of discovering exactly what they can afford and tailor their search accordingly. Overall, we may live in the most difficult state for first-time homebuyers, but the proper professional guidance can still make the dream of homeownership a reality for a new generation.
If you or anyone you know are looking to take the first step into the world of homeownership, I am always available as a resource. It’s a pleasure to help people in these situations realize that their seemingly impossible goal is not only possible but achievable with some smart planning and the proper guidance.