Iowans have taken advantage of the federal reserve’s decision not to raise interest rates earlier this month. Larry Pickering is past president of the Iowa Realtors Association and says mortgage-interest rates tend to follow the prime rate, up or down. The mortgage rates have actually edged up “a little bit,” Pickering says, and though it hasn’t dampened home sales, he thinks buyers are realizing the rates can’t stay low forever so it’s a good time to think about buying. There are more in some categories than in others, the broker points out. The higher the price, the more new homes are on the market, but when it comes to the lower-priced used home a first-time buyer can afford, there aren’t as many homes as realtors would like to see. Pickering says not many contractors are interested in building new homes that are affordable for first-time buyers. He’d like to see some lower-end construction but says with the high price of lots, more builders focus on building high-priced homes that will make them more profit. Pickering sees a difference in the home buyer of today than when he started selling real estate in central Iowa. With “the onslaught of the computer” and everyone’s access to the internet, information is more available and buyers more well-informed. Pickering says by the time they make an offer they’ve had the chance to see what comparable properties have sold for. He says that encourages sellers to set a reasonable price. Pickering says the pace of home sales so far doesn’t show any sign of slowing in Iowa.
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