Posted on August 22, 2023 by in Sell Your Home Jacksonville

The Affordability Crisis, Rising Rates, and Selling Your Home

2022 was a turbulent year for real estate, with both homeowners and renters feeling the pinch of rising home costs and skyrocketing interest rates. Unfortunately, 7 months into 2023 things are looking just as uncertain. Ask for two predictions about the future and you’ll likely get two widely different answers. But there’s no denying the current situation. Housing is expensive. Really expensive. According to Black Knight Inc., a Jacksonville based Fintech and data company, housing affordability has hit a 38 year low. 

Jacksonville, despite being one of the fastest growing cities in 2022, and showing few signs of slowing down in 2023, has been spared the worst of the volatility. But that doesn’t mean that the effects of the affordability crisis haven’t been felt locally. Mortgage rates have again crossed the 7% threshold, reaching a high not seen since 2002. A staggering increase over the sub 3% rates seen in late 2021 and early 2022. Many would-be buyers have been priced out of the market entirely. Others are forced to settle for less expensive neighborhoods. Despite this, home prices continue to inch upward. It all begs the question: how will this all affect me if I sell my home?

The effects of interest rates on affordability

Housing affordability is complex, but can be simply explained as the cost of housing weighed against incomes. The more expensive housing is, the less affordable, always assuming incomes don’t increase at a similar pace. 

Interest rate increases raise the monthly cost of newly originated mortgage payments. In fact raising rates as little as 1% typically raises the monthly cost of a mortgage by about 11%. Rates are up just over 4% from their lows in late 2021, which has raised the average monthly payment of a newly originated mortgage by about 40%. For a $250,000 home that can amount to paying $800 more per month. An increase to about $2,000 a month in all including taxes and insurance. 

Of course this doesn’t affect current mortgages, unless they are adjustable rate, so just because rates increase you shouldn’t expect your current mortgage payment to increase. However, if you decide to sell, or find yourself in a situation in which you need to sell your home, prospective buyers will be subject to those higher payments. For many, $800 a month entirely prices them out of the market. And considering that the average home value in Jacksonville is $295,729*, that payment could be even higher. 

Almost all lenders loan with strict debt and income restrictions, which means that even if they wanted to pay the higher costs to purchase your home, they’d be unlikely to get funding. A smaller buyer pool means more competition, and competition between sellers is only ever good for the buyer. 

The state of Jacksonville’s housing market

Fully renovated homes with modern updates and strong curb appeal located in hot neighborhoods are still selling quickly for a premium. But less desirable and dated homes are struggling to attract potential buyers. The average median time to contract has risen to over 25 days, with many of those contracted homes never making it to the closing table due to inspection and financing failures. 

The silver lining for sellers? Renters don’t have it much better. Rental costs have also risen by a similar margin, with many apartments renting within a few hundred dollars of similarly sized single family home mortgages. So ok, maybe it’s not a true silver lining. Not every renter balking at the staggering state of the rental market can or will become a home buyer. But for those with the means, the cost gap between renting and owning is small enough that buying remains a tantalizing option. 

How to maximize the chance of a quick sale

Selling quickly is more important than ever. Mortgage rates have risen almost every week in the last month. Any delay in selling can be met with higher rates, lower affordability, and a slimmer buyer pool. And this is in addition to the costs of maintaining and holding the home while it is listed. 

In the current market, the key is to make your home stand out. Staging and professional photographs have become a near must. Here are a few other tips based on the homes we see selling quickly in Jacksonville: 

1. Update the kitchen 

If your kitchen features laminate or formica counters, old appliances, mismatched or otherwise outdated cabinets, or low quality or beat up flooring, it’s time to consider an upgrade. 

The kitchen is one of the first places most buyers look when considering a new home.The listings seeing the most market activity feature solid surface counters like granite or quartz, modern stainless steel appliances, luxury tile or vinyl floors, and high quality shaker or custom cabinets. 

The kitchen layout is also an important consideration. Most modern homes feature open floor plans in which there is no wall or partition between the kitchen and living space. If your home features a galley or closed kitchen, it may be time to consult with a contractor to determine the viability of opening the space up

2. Landscape

The first thing a prospective buyer will see when they tour your home is the yard. Landscaping is the frame for your masterpiece. No matter how beautiful the home is, a messy, muddy, overgrown yard will be a deterrent and usually results in fewer and lower offers. 

Ensure that your yard is neatly trimmed, cut, and free of weeds and debris. You may consider hiring a professional service and requesting an accelerated maintenance schedule to ensure it stays neat during the period it is listed. 

You may also consider replacing any areas of dead grass with fresh sod or other lawn coverings, and replacing any strongly discolored mulch or stone in plant beds. 

3. Repair/Replace

As the cost to purchase rises, many buyers are finding themselves less willing to take on project homes. Major systems such as roofs, electrical, plumbing, and the AC can cost thousands to tens of thousands to repair, and can’t be ignored if they break down. As a result many buyers favor homes with newly replaced roofs, newer AC units, and updated electrical and plumbing. 

These systems are doubly important in Florida, where the rising cost of homeowners insurance has compounded with the difficulty of finding an insurance provider who will insure your home has caused what is being called an “Insurance Crisis” by many. 

If your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, or your AC is on its last legs, you should be prepared to replace them. Even if you choose to list your home without making the suggested repairs, many buyers will request them during their inspection period as a contingency of the sale. 

Selling quickly without the work

Preparing a home to sell for top dollar in the current market can be a time consuming and expensive process. Sellers finding themselves in situations where selling is a need rather than a want may have difficulty finding a buyer if they aren’t able to allow for the time and costs of updating, repairing, staging and photographing. 

The alternative is an as-is sale. As-is sales typically take place between homeowners and real estate investors, who use cash to purchase homes. Selling your home as-is means that the buyer accepts it in its current condition without any contingencies. You don’t have to update it. You don’t have to repair it. And in some cases you may be able to leave any unwanted possessions behind too. 

The catch is that most as-is buyers will pay a little less for your house than a buyer on the open market.This is because they understand that the home still needs repairs and updating. For some sellers who only need to touch up a few small items, this may not be a great option. But for those who could be looking at tens of thousands in repairs and updates before they can even put their home on the market, it can be a lifesaver. In fact, by the time most sellers consider how much they would have to spend on repairs, updates, staging, photography, fees, and closing costs; an as-is offer isn’t too far off. And as-is sales can close much more quickly and easily than financed transactions. 


The future of our real estate market remains uncertain. Prices continue to hold steady, and even rise in some areas despite a growing lack of affordability. Continued rate hikes will almost certainly hurt the market, pricing many would-be buyers out; however, tight inventory and the universal need for housing continues to ensure strong sales in desirable neighborhoods. It’s still a seller’s market, but it’s trending neutral. Sellers should prepare themselves for the realities of trying to sell in late 2023.