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The average for the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage has hovered below the 6.5% range for several weeks, settling in at 6.39% this week. And while more stable rates are an optimistic sign for prospective buyers, a lack of for-sale inventory is causing many house hunters to hold back. New listings are down 21% year-over-year, and even though rates are expected to move lower throughout 2023, a shrinking pool of sellers will continue to drive down available supply and stir up competition, the National Association of Realtors reports.

A recent survey by revealed that one-third of homeowners say buying their next home is their biggest concern when deciding whether to sell.

“Many sellers are likely future buyers, too. That may be why a majority of would-be sellers report feeling ‘locked in’ to their current home because of a low mortgage rate, especially younger homeowners,” [Danielle] Hale says. “But older homeowners, who are likely to have a smaller mortgage balance and greater equity, are less likely to report feeling locked in by a low interest rate and more likely to report that they need to sell anyway. This likely means that older households will continue to play a prominent role on both sides of the home sale transaction this year.”

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