Mortgage rates, the number of homes for sale, housing prices – these factors are always changing. But the numbers don’t lie; more Americans own homes than rent.
According to a survey conducted by First National Bank of Omaha, 59 percent of respondents said they owned a home, versus 30 percent that said they rented.
If you’ve been considering swapping that rent check for a mortgage payment, now might be the time to join that 59 percent.
Rates are still manageable
One very good reason to buy a home in 2018 is that interest rates will likely continue to creep upwards. That’s why it’s a smart idea to lock in a mortgage rate as soon as you decide you want to buy a home.
After years of record-low interest rates, the government is finally making noticeable increases, with the rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage breaking the 4-percent mark in 2017.
With economic growth continuing to carry momentum, potential homebuyers can expect to see rate increases through the end of 2018 and into 2019.
The Mortgage Bankers Association expects “strong economic growth in 2018 and 2019, and a possible slowdown in 2020. Mortgage rates are anticipated to increase modestly, with the 30-year rate reaching 5 percent by the end of 2018, and 5.5 percent by the end of 2019,” says MBA Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni. 
Competitive home prices
Home prices have increased significantly over the past few years. But in 2018, prices are expected to see moderate increases. Some home markets are hotter than others, but the national trend has seen increased pricing. While prices are expected to increase in 2018, they are not expected to rise at the same pace as in previous years, which will make them more affordable to homebuyers.
The median home value in the United States is $217,300, says Zillow.com.
“United States home values have gone up 8.3% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 6.6% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in the United States is $150. The median price of homes currently listed in the United States is $279,500 while the median price of homes that sold is $231,700. 
The point is, home prices will likely continue to rise in 2018, which means the sooner a homebuyer purchases a home this year, the less they might, theoretically, expect to pay for that home, compared to what the price might be in 2019.
Home supply is up in 2018
For the past several years, there’s been a limited number of moderately priced homes available on the market, which caused asking prices to rise significantly. However, according to realtor.com, mid-level home inventory should begin to pick up in 2018, making homeownership more attainable.
According to Yun, home building is expected to increase 10 percent this year, to reach around 1.3 million new single-family homes.
Finding a home in 2018 should be easier as housing inventory is expected to increase for the first time since 2015, says newhomesource.com. “Homes more than $350,000 are expected to be the majority of the inventory increase, making ownership of move-up homes more accessible to buyers. This inventory increase should help reduce prices of all homes and slow rapid appreciation of houses as competition for existing decreases.” 
Ready to begin?
If you’re considering buying a home in 2018, the first thing to do is connect with a mortgage expert.
Starting with your own bank is the most popular first step for prospective homeowners, according to a nationwide survey conducted by First National Bank of Omaha.
“We will evaluate your options for buying a home and help you determine which home loan is right for you,” says Kelley Harwood, Vice President of the Consumer Lending Group at First National Bank. “We can help you get pre-approved for a loan, so you can begin the search for that dream home.
“In competitive home markets, it’s a significant advantage for a potential homebuyer to be pre-approved for a loan. It makes the homebuyer more appealing to a seller and it helps expedite the process of buying a home.”
Ready to hit the driveway running? Stop by your local First National Bank branch today and visit with a mortgage loan expert.
 “Average Mortgage Rates Rise to Their Second Highest Level This Year,” National Mortgage News – https://www.nationalmortgagenews.com/news/average-mortgage-rates-rise-to-their-second-highest-level-this-year
 United States Home Prices & Values, Zillow.com, June 30, 2018 – https://www.zillow.com/home-values/
 “Increased Housing Inventory Coming in 2018” – https://www.newhomesource.com/guide/articles/2018-housing-predictions