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Longtime Real Estate Industry Expert Says Homebuyers Should Be Ready to Make Larger Down Payments

Rising Home Prices, Caused by Low Inventory, Higher Mortgage Rates and Supply Chain Issues Will Make This an Even More Competitive Buyer’s Market

PLAINVIEW, NEW YORK — In the past, a typical down payment for a house was 20%. However, in today’s competitive housing market, that is no longer the case. Home prices are continuing to go up as a result of varying issues — shrinking inventory, mortgage rate hikes and a scarcity of building materials. Joe Moshé, Broker/Owner, Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc., says prospective homebuyers should save up as much money as possible for a larger down payment.


In January 2022, the median home sales price in Nassau County was $650,000, which is a mere 0.8% higher than it was in December 2021 at $645,000 and 8.2% the previous January at $600,500, according to OneKey® MLS. Suffolk’s median home sales price this January was $520,000, which was approximately 1% less than the previous month, when it was $525,000, but a 10.3% increase over January 2021, when it was $471,301.


Sales are beginning to drop off due to the lack of available inventory, based on OneKey MLS data. In Nassau, 1,172 homes were sold in January, down 11.7% from 1,309 the previous month and a 7.3% decrease from 1,264 in January 2021. Nassau also had 2,164 homes available for sale back in January, a slight decrease of 0.4% from 2,172 in December 2021 and 50% less than in January 2021 with 3,257.


In Suffolk, 1,342 homes were sold the first month of the year, according to OneKey MLS. That is a 32.9% drop-off from December 2021, when 1,783 closings took place, and a 16.6% decline from the 1,610 houses sold in January 2021. In addition, there were only 2,260 homes available in January 2022; that is 11.9% fewer homes than in December 2021 (2,291) and a 38.5% decline from January 2021’s figure of 3,131.


“Since inventory has diminished, buyers are now settling for properties that need more work than they ever expected,” Mr. Moshé says. “Holding back down payments for expenses is a good idea if you are not in a competitive bidding war.”


Mr. Moshé says another reason to lay out a larger down payment is higher mortgage rates. According to the Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) rate has gone up since the beginning of the year from 3.22% to 3.76%, as did the 15-year FRM rate (from 2.43% to 3.01%) and the 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage (from 2.41% to 2.91%).


“Because of the increase in the mortgage rates, it will cost you more money to pay off the house,” Mr. Moshé says. “If you want the house and can hold off on renovations, you should put the money down to show the seller you are interested in buying the house.”


Another factor in higher home prices is the supply chain issue, with imported lumber and building materials backlogged at major ports. That — combined with the rising cost of labor, utilities and taxes — has made it more expensive to build and own a house, Mr. Moshé says. “It has become more expensive to hire plumbers, electricians and carpenters,” he says. “Home heating oil, gas and electricity prices have gone up for homeowners. Real Estate taxes may increase as home prices keep going higher or renovations take place.”


With the housing market getting tighter and more competitive, Mr. Moshé says now is not the time to wait for a “deal” or a “steal.” “With most listings selling at or above the asking price, buyers who pay in cash or put larger down payments on the table will win the bidding war,” he says. “Often, the one who leaves the most money down wins.”


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About Charles Rutenberg Realty

Founded in 2006, by Joe and Pamela Moshé, Charles Rutenberg Realty, Inc. is one of the nation’s fastest-growing, most progressive Real Estate Agencies, with 1,000 associated Real Estate Professionals. Charles Rutenberg Realty, Inc. specializes in residential and commercial transactions in Long Island and Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange Counties. Among the 1,950 Real Estate offices represented by Multiple Listing Services (MLS), Charles Rutenberg Realty, Inc. has among the highest in market share for transactions closed, available inventory and listings taken for the last ten years. They are consistently among the largest firms within the Long Island Board of Realtors. Charles Rutenberg Realty, Inc. is headquartered in Plainview, New York and maintains branch offices in Queens, Bronx, Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Other Charles Rutenberg offices are located in New York City; Clearwater, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Chicago, Illinois. For more information, visit

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