nearly 8 in 10 sellers regret missing the hottest market in decades, survey shows

What happens when mortgage rates that were once at historical lows shoot up to 20-year highs? People stop selling their homes. And some stop buying.  

Mortgage rates have come down from their peak of 8.03%, but they’re still a far cry away from 2% and 3% rates that fueled the pandemic housing boom. The current average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is 7.44%, as of the latest reading. Last week, after a hotter than expected inflation report, mortgage rates hit their highest level in almost five months. So more sidelined homebuyers are bracing for a higher-for-longer situation, in anticipation of the Federal Reserve delaying interest rate cuts that would indirectly lower the cost of a home loan. But how are sellers feeling? 

It’s a mixed bag. But we know a lot of recent sellers wish they sold their homes sooner so they could have “taken advantage of a hotter housing market,”’s senior economic research analyst wrote, referring to a new sellers survey. The study shows that 79% of respondents feel that way; home prices were their highest in the fourth quarter of 2022. Whereas, more than 80% said they’ve been thinking about selling their home for between one and three years. They’re debating whether it makes financial sense to sell in a time of elevated mortgage rates.

“In fact, 79% of potential sellers feel locked in to their home due to a low interest rate,”’s Hannah Jones wrote. “Though the share of ‘locked in’ owners is 3 percentage points lower than last year, today’s mortgage rates are taking a toll on seller sentiment.” 

Roughly 29% of ‘locked-in,’ would-be sellers need to sell soon for personal reasons (whether that be a need for more or less space; or a major life event such as, marriage, kids, divorce, or career-related things). But half are planning to wait for lower rates, the survey found. And about eight in 10 expect their mortgage rate on their new home to be higher than their present situation. It’s not hard to imagine why. puts the typical outstanding mortgage at less than 4%; at one point, Goldman Sachs estimated 98% of borrowers had a below market mortgage rate. And none of that accounts for the share of Americans who are simply mortgage free. 

To put it in perspective, consider the change in a monthly mortgage payment on the same-priced house but at different rates. Assuming 20% down on a $600,000 home, meaning a loan of $480,000 with a 3% mortgage rate, the monthly mortgage payment would be a little over $2,000 (that’s not including taxes or insurance). With the same exact circumstances but a 7% mortgage rate, the monthly payment would be close to $3,200. That’s a big difference, particularly in a matter of years. 

But it’s not just mortgage rates that’s got sellers feeling some type of way. After all, it’s generally a much cooler housing market than that of the pandemic (although that doesn’t take into account regional variation: some markets are very hot). Still, only 15% of sellers expect offers over asking; last year, it was double that. 

“A less frenzied market from years past means 15% expect to have an offer within a week, less than half of the 2023 share (37%), and 15% expect buyers to be willing to forgo contingencies like inspections and appraisals to make the deal, down from 35% in 2023,” Jones wrote. 

Clearly, sellers have adjusted their expectations, even if they still seem to have the upper hand. Nevertheless, would-be sellers are hoping to sell their homes for more than $460,000 on average. That’s not far from the median sales price for homes sold in the country, which is about $418,000. Meanwhile, a third hope to sell anywhere between $400,000 and $500,000. And a quarter want to sell their homes for $250,000 to $400,000; another quarter expect to sell in the $500,000 to $750,000 range. 

So what does this all mean for existing home sales? They fell to their lowest point in almost three decades last year because people weren’t selling their homes—so much so that President Joe Biden practically admitted that nobody wants to sell their home. In February, they were up on a monthly basis, but down on an annual basis, the latest available data shows. So it’s not clear where they’re headed. But according to, “mortgage rates are expected to ease slightly this year, and limited home inventory means buyers are eager for fresh options, which means 2024 could be a good time to hop into the market for some sellers.”

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