Market Update

First-time home buyers

The spring home shopping season continues to heat up. With inventory low and demand high, buyers are facing competition. Navigating this volatile market can be challenging. Check out the resources below to create ease during your home-buying process.

The housing market right now:

▪️ Home buyers are going to see more competition than they might expect — not because there are a huge number of buyers to compete with, but because there aren’t many homes on the market to go around.

▪️ Mortgage rates are not only high, but volatile, which makes it hard for a buyer to know what they can afford.

▪️ Looking ahead, mortgage rates will likely continue to have the biggest impact on market conditions.

Read the latest monthly market report

Related: Zillow names the 10 best metros for first-time home buyers in 2023

Getting finances in order

When Zillow asked five questions about credit scores, the average American only answered two of the five correctly. Yet a good credit history is key to getting the best possible loan; here are the four things first-time buyers should do to qualify for the best possible mortgage interest rate.

Qualifying for the best possible interest rate

You may be eligible for down-payment assistance. Learn more >

How much can a first-time buyer afford?

As mortgage interest rates fluctuate, aspiring buyers can start with a mortgage calculator and affordability tools to understand what they can realistically afford on a monthly basis.

Mortgage affordability calculator

Zillow’s affordability calculators take into account some of the hidden costs of homeownership. First-time shoppers should also explore down payment assistance programs they may qualify for.

Related: 6 common first-time buyer mistakes and how to avoid them

Borrowing options for first-time buyers

First-time buyers can gain a competitive edge by getting pre-approved for a mortgage. A Zillow survey finds 86% of sellers prefer a buyer who has been pre-approved, as opposed to pre-qualified, for a mortgage.

For first-time buyers, persistence is key: Nearly half of all first-time buyers (47%) are denied a mortgage at least once before ultimately being approved.

Find a lender, compare rates and get expert advice

Related: Top questions to ask a mortgage lender & Is an adjustable rate mortgage right for you?

Finding the right agent is key

Navigating today’s housing market can be confusing and stressful, and acting quickly can be key. The right agent can help; according to Zillow Research, 85% of buyers use a real estate agent or broker.

Zillow’s agent finder, which includes agent reviews

Related: Benefits of real estate agents for home buyers & Tips for hiring a buyer’s real estate agent

Related: What to look for when buying a house & 5 expert tips to help home buyers win in this hot seller’s market

*Zillow research survey