Is This Really ‘the Worst Time to Buy a Home’?

For four years now, the housing market has defied all logic.

A global pandemic didn’t collapse prices, but sent them soaring to new heights. Last year, mortgage rates hit a 23-year high and sales plummeted. Even so, home prices stubbornly kept rising, creating the most unaffordable housing market in generations.

This year offers a new plot twist: More apartments are under construction than at any time in half a century, delivering renters more new apartments than they’ve seen in decades.

So while buying a home continues to be an infuriating experience, marked by high prices, high interest rates and low inventory, renting an apartment is getting easier. That means that unless you plan to live in a house for the next decade or so, now may not be the best time to buy it.

“This is about the worst time to buy a home,” said Christopher Mayer, a real estate professor at Columbia Business School.

Yes, mortgage rates have edged down from their October peak of almost 8 percent, and inventory has ticked up as sellers creep back into the market. But the overall picture hasn’t changed in any meaningful way — and likely won’t anytime soon.

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