It's hard out there for those of us looking to buy our first home right now.

Not sure if you've noticed (I'm sure you have), but housing prices have SKYROCKETED since the start of the pandemic. To be perfectly honest, it's making me wonder if I'll ever get the chance to own my own home. It seems like every week I hear a horror story from one of my friends about how they loved a home, put in an offer, only to be outbid by thousands and thousands of dollars.

To describe the house-hunting progress for those of us here in NJ trying to purchase our starter home in one word: disheartening.

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It truly is crazy out there. For example, homes that would have started at $180,000 before the pandemic are now listed at $300k. That's just the listing price. People are paying on average about $30k higher than the listing price and have been for a few years now. If you're fine with that and can afford it, that's great. But, those of us still young enough to do a lot of work to a house ourselves don't want to have to put out that kind of cash.

The fear is, though, that if we don't, interest rates will jump again, too. They were historically low back in 2020. If they continue to rise like they have been, when you couple that with the super expensive price tags on the homes themselves, we won't be able to afford anything! Long story short, the current housing shortage benefits the seller, not the buyer.

So, with that comes the question a lot us potential home buyers are currently facing. Do we wait for the market to taper off, or do we just pull the trigger and get a house now? It's a gamble, for sure, since there are no guarantees either way of not losing any money.

If you, like me, are facing this decision, just know you're not alone. All of us first-time home buyers in NJ are in the same boat.

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