After nearly two years of frenetic home buying, one of the area’s top residential real estate brokers expects the market to cool in 2022.

“I think the theme for ’22 is going to be: It’s still going to be a strong pace but not as frenzied,” said Christian Barnes, principal owner and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Kansas City Homes. “I don’t think we’re going to see the double-digit appreciation rates that we saw in ’21.”

Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Jerome Powell has warned of three potential interest-rate bumps in 2022. If mortgage rates begin creeping past 3%, it would ease a years-long housing inventory shortage.

“You have that perfect storm right now of homes appreciating at the rate that they’re appreciating,” Barnes said. “If we start to see interest rates tick up, the marriage of those two really starts to affect affordability.”

Affordability should be top of mind in 2022. She sees first-time buyers considering previously overlooked areas with cheaper real estate. The East Side; Downtown; Kansas City, Kansas; and parts of Wyandotte County are becoming trendy.

Millennials continue to enter the market for the first time, and many are looking at fixer-uppers for their first home.