It’s a simple fact: home prices are rising. Considerably. The combustible combo of low interest rates and low housing inventory has lit a fire under the housing market and brought it to a boil that won’t simmer anytime soon. Homebuyers have been, and will continue to, pay over list prices. But should you? Let’s delve into the details. 

Why would one pay over the listing price? 

It may seem like a real risk. If you pay more for a home than its listing price, and that price is fair for the area you are taking on negative equity. Therefore, building equity in your home will take longer, affecting a range of things: how long you may have to pay for private mortgage insurance, when you can refinance your mortgage loan; and when you’ll be able to get a home equity loan. Plus, if you decide to sell the home anytime soon, there is a chance you’ll take a loss. While all these things are true, it still makes sense for lots of homebuyers to pay above the appraised value of a home. 

Rising home prices is one reason. While we may not get the record level of increases in home prices we’ve witnessed in the recent past, no experts expect we’ll see significant price drops. Rather, it’s more likely that moderate price rises are on the horizon, and that your home will one day be worth significantly more than when you bought it. Here are some things to consider when faced with the prospect of paying over the list price: 

How does paying over the appraised value affect my mortgage? 

Lenders generally don’t finance mortgages for more than the appraised value of the home. Which makes knowing how much you can afford to spend with a pre-approved mortgage even more important. And as you’ve got about a 50/50 chance that the house you want to buy will sell above its listed price, you might want to shop just below your loan limit. That way, when you find the right house, you’ll know there’s a cushion and that the mortgage can come close to covering the selling price. 

How much are home prices rising? 

According to the National Association of Realtors, the median home price across all different types of housing was $350,300 in January 2022. That’s a rise of over 15% from January 2021. The jump wasn’t an atypical spike, a continuation of a long-running trend, marking the 119th consecutive month we’ve seen of increases, the longest-ever such trend in recorded history. And going forward? Based on analysis by the American Enterprise Institute’s Housing Center, the forecast for 2022 looks to be an overall rise in home prices of 12%. 

Are things the same all over the country? 

No. California is seeing some of the nation’s widest discrepancies between home list prices and selling prices, with Oakland, San Jose, and San Francisco reporting some of the nation’s highest divides. In San Francisco, a staggering 70.8% of houses sold for more than the asking price. Nationally, that number is lower, with about 50% of homes selling over their list prices in 2021, according to Redfin. Which was 23% higher than the previous year’s numbers for houses that sold over list prices. 

How do I know if a list price is competitive? 

You may go into the house-hunting process understanding that list prices are high these days, and you may very well pay more than the listed price. But how can you tell if the list price is competitive in the first place? Your real estate agent can do a comparative market analysis (CMA) of similar property sales in the area to make a side-by-side comparison. These reports are often used by sellers to set the prices, but prospective homebuyers can also use them to evaluate prices to make competitive bids. 

Where is the housing market headed in 2022? 

All signs say that the competition among home buyers will be just as fierce as it was last year. Homes are selling faster: in January 2022, the national average home sales time was 61 days, 10 days faster than in January 2021 and about a month faster than during the years prior to that. The prices of homes are rising, we saw a jump of more than 10% of median listing prices in January 2022 over January 2021. But the outlook isn’t dire — lots of market watchers expect this appreciation in home prices to slow over the course of 2022. Redfin’s chief economist Daryl Fairweather predicts that when average mortgage rates hit 3.6%, we’ll see competition cool to match the more moderate levels we had in 2018. 

Buying Can Still Beat Renting 

Even with the recent rise in home prices, buying a home can still be more affordable than renting in lots of places. According to, the per-month cost of buying a home is less than renting in over 75% of America’s largest metropolitan areas. Government data shows that rents are rising across the U.S., climbing 3.8% over the last year alone. The national average pales in comparison to some of the country’s hardest hit areas, such as Orlando with almost a 30% rise in rental prices, or Austin with rent prices jumping 40% and more. With rent high everywhere, and no indications they’ll drop, buying a home may make more sense now than ever. 

No matter the price you pay for a new home, City Lending has a range of loan programs to suit your needs. Contact a loan specialist today to talk about your next move.