BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - When it comes to selling homes, Kim Barelare is an expert. She’s been a realtor for thirty years.
“When I got in, interest rates were rising from thirteen to fifteen percent and I've seen them come all the way down into the threes, so it's been a wide range of experiences,” Barelare says.
U.S. mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the interest rate on a 30-year, fixed rate mortgage is up nearly one percentage point from last year causing mortgage rates to be the highest they’ve been in seven years.
But Barelare cautions those in our area to not panic. “They are what they are when they’re a national average, but we never seem to follow that trend especially as rigidly as some may think," she said.
Experts say the higher mortgage prices are pulling down home sales and slowing home price growth.
But Barelare says that’s not the case in Jefferson County. It’s just the opposite.
“Our unit sales are up by 6.9-percent which disagrees with what the national average is seeing,” Barelare says. “Over a two-year period, we’re up sixteen-percent, so again, we don’t follow that national trend usually.”
She says a rising interest rate is not only a sign the economy is doing well, but it can help push those who are in a “wait and see" mode.
“This, many times, will bring those buyers off the fence and go, now I’m ready to buy. I don’t want it to go any higher before I purchase my home. So it does help our market,” Barelare adds.
As for why Alabama does not tend to follow the national trend of higher mortgage rates, she says there’s several reasons including our population, the price homes we have, tax structures and just a healthier overall economy by many accounts.