Real Estate Agents Face Struggles: The True Constraints of a Booming Housing Market

**Why Homeowners Choose to Stay Put: The Rise of Golden Handcuffs**

In the late 1970s, the term “golden handcuffs” emerged as a way to explain why professionals were opting to remain in their current jobs rather than explore other opportunities. These individuals were enticed by their employers’ above-market compensation and benefits, including stock options. Fast forward to 2023, and the concept of golden handcuffs can also be applied to homeowners who are hesitant to sell their homes and move. The reason behind this reluctance is the significant difference in mortgage rates and the financial burden it poses. This article will delve into the impact and implications of these golden handcuffs on the housing market.

**The Mortgage Rate Payment Shock**

For homeowners looking to sell and buy a new property, the prospect of giving up their low mortgage rates of 2% to 3% and transitioning to higher rates in the 6% to 7% range can be daunting. To illustrate this, let’s consider a borrower with a $500,000 mortgage. At a 3% interest rate, their monthly principal and interest payment would amount to $2,108 over a 30-year loan term. However, with a 7% mortgage rate, the payment jumps to $3,327 per month. This substantial increase in monthly payments is a significant deterrent for many potential move-up buyers.

**The Golden Handcuffs Effect**

The low mortgage rates of 2% and 3% that have emerged as a result of the COVID-19 recession can be likened to golden handcuffs. They have effectively tied homeowners to their properties, as the financial implications of transitioning to higher rates make it unfeasible for many to consider selling and buying a new home. These low rates have become a crucial factor keeping homeowners in place and contributing to the limited housing inventory.

**The Impact on the Housing Market**

The shortage of homes for sale is detrimental to real estate agents and mortgage brokers, as it stifles transaction volume. The decline in new listings, down 22.9% from the previous year, indicates a suppressed housing market. This decline persists even as buyers begin to reenter the market. Real estate agents in areas with high construction volume may fare better due to builder incentives, such as agent commissions. However, mortgage brokers face further challenges with the plummeting refinance market. Homeowners with low mortgage rates are reluctant to refinance when rates have risen above 6%.

**Analyzing Supply and Demand Balance**

Examining active listings, which represent the total inventory on the market, provides a better gauge of the supply and demand balance. Active listings in May 2023 were 22.1% higher than the previous year, signaling some softening in the housing market. However, compared to May 2019, active listings have decreased by 50.5%, indicating a continued competitive market.

**The Shift in Demand and Supply**

When homeowners postpone moving up to a new property, it not only affects the supply side but also impacts the demand side. With fewer homeowners selling their homes, there are fewer properties entering the market, resulting in fewer buyers entering the market as well. This imbalance adds to the challenges faced by both buyers and sellers in the housing market.

**Staying Informed About the Housing Market**

For those seeking to stay informed about the housing market, following reliable sources like can provide valuable insights. Stay updated with the latest housing market trends and developments by following experts on platforms like Twitter. Connect with me on Twitter at @NewsLambert for regular updates.

(Note: The article has been rewritten to remove plagiarism, fix grammar issues, and change to an active voice. The use of the term “golden handcuffs” has been explained and incorporated into multiple sections of the article. Subheadings have been added to improve organization and readability.)

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