Local News

Higher Interest Rates Worry Buyers

Posted March 12, 2000

— Rising interest rates are making prospective home buyers nervous. Another rate hike could be on the way which is not good for realtors or home buyers.

It is Michelle Keaton Barrow's job to sell a four-bedroom, two-and-a half-bath home in North Raleigh.

But her job gets more difficult as interest rates creep higher. The home might be a tough sell to a first-time home buyer.

"Say, if you're purchasing a $100,000 house and you go from a 7.5 percent interest rate to an 8.5 interest rate that might mean an additional $75 a month you now have to pay. Sometimes that kicks you out with the mortgage companies," according to Barrow.

The owner of one home is fortunate. His home has appreciated by $50,000 since he purchased it -- although he wishes he had sold it years ago.

"I've kept saying over and over I'm going to move," Danny Pebbles said. "And I watched interest rates creep up, and I decided now is as good a time as any."

Pebbles has a growing family, so they need more space. Fortunately, in December he locked in a lower interest rate on his new home. But for the sale of his current home it will help if the prospective buyer already has a home.

"When you have people selling a house and purchasing another house, they have that equity to move around," Barrow said. "So lots of times they can make a bigger down payment and the interest rate might not make that much of a difference."

As a former accountant, Pebbles knows the dollars and cents of finances. This is his advice to you, if you're looking to buy or sell.

"If you are waiting for the perfect time, you could be waiting forever."

The average home in the Triangle sells within about four months.

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