BILLINGS — This year has seen fluctuations in the real estate market, with October having the highest mortgage and interest rates in 23 years. But experts are hopeful the market is heading in a positive direction for 2024.
Monique Harasymczuk and her wife recently bought a house in November in a process that was years in the making.
“We’ve been looking for a house since it’s been about two years, but with the housing market we were just like, we’re going to wait until next year and the year after," said Harasymczuk.
However, recent changes to the market allowed them to find one within a reasonable price range.
“The houses that we were looking at last year actually came down quite a bit, so then that is when we decided we might as well,” said Harasymczuk. "We just decided we needed to just bite the bullet and get ourselves into a house because we were throwing money to the wind with renting."
Sara Cortez and her family were able to move up into a better home in August thanks to the market conditions. They sold their previous home within days and used the equity from it to purchase the new house.
“Prices were very, very high. But I think what helped us is knowing how much we could sell our house for, with all that equity it did help us find a decent house in our price range," said Cortez.
The once-unsure market appears to be stabilizing. Prices are trending downward, which will be a positive for potential buyers.
“We’re very close to what we were in 2022," said Nicole Morrow, who is a realtor at 2Morrows Real Estate brokered by eXp Realty in the Billings area with her daughter, Makena.
“You have to be able to tell (clients) that everything they see on the news or Zillow may not be correct to the market in Billings. We are protected in that little bubble, and it’s not as drastic of a change as other parts in the U.S.," said Morrow.
They also said that many have a misconception about the current state of the market and that things will not make a turn for the worse.
“The housing market is not crashing. If anything it’s very vibrant and it’s very active, especially in Billings,” said Morrow.
According to housing data site RedFin, the average home sale price in Yellowstone County in November was $360,000, a decline from the summer high of over $400,000.
“The prices aren’t going to fluctuate a ton like in 2020," said Morrow. "They’re going to remain about where they’re at. Maybe go down just a little bit.”
While it can be a long and difficult process to find a new home, Cortez says the key for future homeowners is finding the right help.
“Find a good realtor who will look for your needs and what you want, not try and talk you into anything else. They just listen to what you want and not change your mind on anything.”