Georgia county featured in top 2023 real estate markets prediction

According to Realtor.com, the greater Richmond County area — which includes Augusta — is in the top six U.S. housing markets for growth in 2023. It is Georgia’s only entry within the realty news company’s top 10 list.

The U.S. housing market has fluctuated significantly through the past three years, largely due to the pandemic and other unexpected economic stressors. Augusta’s Richmond County, however, ranked highly in Realtor.com’s report for its yearly percentage growth, in both total sales and anticipated prices, for 2023 all the same.

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“The 2020-22 period left indelible marks on the economy and housing markets,” the report said. “Among those, the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy combined with a long-term underbuilding trend caused a whiplash in affordability. In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and through 2021, the central bank’s push to lower borrowing costs and flood the financial system with capital led to mortgage rates dropping to record lows.

“The net effect was to significantly boost borrowers’ budget capacity, enabling them to engage in bidding wars as they competed for the small number of homes for sale. However, in 2022, the Fed reversed course, increasing the policy interest rate and pulling back from the mortgage-backed securities market, making borrowing much more expensive, especially for home shoppers. The net effect was a 10-month surge in mortgage rates from 3.1% at the start of the year to almost 7.1% in early November.”

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Despite increasing mortgage rates cooling down the 2022 market, Hartford-West and Hartford-East Hartford, Connecticut, is anticipated to see 6.5% sales growth and 8.5% price growth year over year, earning it the top spot in Realtor.com’s market report. El Paso, Texas, took home the second highest spot with an anticipated 8.9% sales growth and 8.5% price growth for 2023.