Mar 25, 2024 - News

Golden handcuffs keep Arkansas homeowners locked in

Share of mortgage offers made to first-time homebuyers in 2023
Data: LendingTree; Note: Mortgage offer refers to any type of mortgage offered to a LendingTree marketplace user by a LendingTree lender; Map: Axios Visuals

First-time homebuyers received 56% of mortgage offers in Arkansas in 2023 —third-lowest in the U.S. — per a recent LendingTree report.

Why it matters: It's one more sign that current homeowners are still feeling the golden handcuffs effect of not wanting to give up existing low-rate mortgages, Axios' Brianna Crane writes.

The big picture: Nationwide, 65% of mortgage offers went to first-time homebuyers in 2023, per the report.

Zoom in: The average selling price for a single-family home during the second half of 2023 was $420,144 in Benton County and $386,695 in Washington County, according to the latest Arvest Skyline Report.

Between the lines: However, fewer people overall took out mortgages in 2023. "First-time buyers simply appear to make up a larger portion of a relatively small pool of buyers," says Lending Tree senior economist Jacob Channel.

Zoom out: The largest share of offers went to first-time buyers in high-cost areas — including New York, California and New Jersey, where current homeowners are especially reluctant to give up their low mortgage rates — per the report.

  • The lowest shares were in South Dakota (54.2%), Alaska (54.3%) and the Natural State.

Most mortgage offers went to first-time buyers in every state.

What's next: "As rates decline, we'll likely see more repeat buyers jump back into the housing market," Channel says.

Go deeper: Inside Biden's plan to unlock the housing market's golden handcuffs

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