A Real Estate Discussion Blog


The Potential Cost Of Waiting For 'The Bottom"

I love this chart that the Zillow research team put together which illustrates how it could actually cost money to wait for another small decrease in home prices, based on the projected interest rate increases.

You can read the full article here, entitled, To Wait or Not to Wait: Financing versus Purchase Costs.

The article uses the example of buying a $200,000 home now, verses waiting a year.  In the first week of February 2011, the Zillow Mortgage Marketplace was showing a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 4.7%. For someone with good credit, who is able to put 20% down, and locks a 4.7% rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, the monthly payment would be $830.

Say this same person waits, believing values may fall another 6% in a year (so paying $188,000 for this same home).  It is projected that the 30-year fixed mortgage will be at 5.2% by  Freddie Mac's forecasted average for 2011.  Now the actual monthly payment goes to $826 with a 20% down payment. That $12,000 savings achieved by waiting to buy later at a lower price translates to just $4 a month less in a mortgage payment, as much of the savings is offset by higher mortgage rates. Also, this doesn't take into account tax saving that would have been realized over the year with the mortgage interest deduction.

Here is the full chart to play with what it may cost to wait, depending on what you believe the market is going to do in the next year:

buy or rent





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Comment balloon 13 commentsSara Bonert • February 25 2011 08:55AM


This is really good stuff, I am going to take a closer look and hit up the article. Thanks for sharing

Posted by Gerry Michaels, GettysburgGerry Social Meida (Glasswork Media Arts) about 9 years ago

Great information. It is all in the numbers. Forwarding to some buyers. The catch in this is so many of buyers now are paying cash! 

Posted by Andrea Geller (HOT PROPERTY® The Chaz Walters Group at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) about 9 years ago

Sara, this is a really great blog post.  It's amazing how interest rates/home values interplay.  Wish the re-blog thing worked, but I'm suggesting this for a feature!

Posted by Melissa Brown, Realtor - South Charlotte NC Homes for Sale (Helen Adams Realty) about 9 years ago

Sara...this is right in line with my quote du jour ..."A year from now, you'll wish you'd started today!"

Posted by Patty Keller, AnotherMe - 770-414-9393 - RE Virtual Assistant (AnotherME, LLC) about 9 years ago

very  good chart, people like visuals it will help them make better choices

Posted by Ken's Home Team LLC. | 360.609.0226 | Portland, OR & Vancouver, WA Real Estate Team, - SOLD IS OUR FAVORITE 4 LETTER WORD - (Ken's Home Team LLC.) about 9 years ago

Buyers need to understand the only thing they know today is what the rates are and what the prices are...anything else is a gamble!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) about 9 years ago

Thank for the comments. There are a lot of ways to view various numbers, but at the end of the day it is all about how much you can afford to be coming out of your pocket each month.  That is why interest rates (unless you are a cash buyer!) are an important consideration.

Posted by Sara Bonert, Real Estate Internet Marketing (Zillow) about 9 years ago

Yes Sara, & we all know few cash buyers are in today's market.

Sara what is your view on zillow & claims of double standards it has, & is it right to let a few users in zillows website to roam with behavior that's not permitted, allowing the group of users to cyber bully.



Jon Kolsky


Posted by Jon Kolsky, Licensed California Real Estate Broker (Kolsky Realty & Management) about 9 years ago


Excellent info!  I believe we are at or darn close to bottom with much less inventory coming on in Atlanta for the areas I work.  (It's a big city, but I am more in town.)  So, this really could effect people quite a bit with a larger interest rate. 

All the best, Michelle

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) about 9 years ago

Good to hear Michelle - I just moved to Atlanta three weeks ago!  We are just starting to narrow down where we'd like to end up more permanently one day in the city.

Posted by Sara Bonert, Real Estate Internet Marketing (Zillow) about 9 years ago

Excellent post Sara!

Posted by Karlye Mickley about 9 years ago

Great stuff, Sara.

I'd like to add that its advisable for agents to carefully think about how they present this kind of information to their clients and prospects. Oftentimes, we espouse a "buy now" message, which can come across as self serving if that's all we are (perceived as) saying.

Posted by Dan Cheek, Internet Lead Management about 9 years ago

Sara, when I have a question rather than spending hours, like I did with a buyer trying to explain the market dynamics of waiting to purchase, I should just search active rain instead for the answer or help. Thanks to you and your team for the chart!

Posted by Adrian Willanger, Profit from my two decades of experience (206 909-7536 AdrianWillanger-broker.com) about 9 years ago