Mortgage rates have been a hot topic in the housing market over the past 12 months. Compared to the beginning of 2022, rates have risen dramatically. Now they’re dropping, and that has to do with everything happening in the economy.
Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains it well by saying:
“Mortgage rates dropped even further this week as two main factors affecting today’s mortgage market became more favorable. Inflation continued to ease while the Federal Reserve switched to a smaller interest rate hike. As a result, according to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to 6.31% from 6.33% the previous week.”
So, what does that mean for your homeownership plans? As mortgage rates fluctuate, they impact your purchasing power by influencing the cost of buying a home. Even a small dip can help boost your purchasing power. Here’s how it works.
The median-priced home according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is $379,100. So, let’s assume you want to buy a $400,000 home. If you’re trying to shop at that price point and keep your monthly payment about $2,500-2,600 or below, here’s how your purchasing power can change as mortgage rates move up or down (see chart below). The red shows payments above that threshold and the green indicates a payment within your target range.
This goes to show, even a small quarter-point change in mortgage rates can impact your monthly mortgage payment. That’s why it’s important to work with a trusted real estate professional who follows what the experts are projecting for mortgage rates for the days, months, and year ahead.
Mortgage rates are likely to fluctuate depending on what happens with inflation moving forward, but they have dropped slightly in recent weeks. If a 7% rate was too high for you, it may be time to contact a lender to see if the current rate is more in line with your goal for a monthly housing expense.
This past year, rising mortgage rates have slowed the red-hot housing market. Over the past nine months, we’ve seen fewer homes sold than the previous month as home price growth has slowed. All of this is due to the fact that the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate has doubled this year, severely limiting homebuying power for consumers. And, this month, the average rate for financing a home briefly rose over 7% before coming back down into the high 6% range. But we’re starting to see a hint of what mortgage interest rates could look like next year.
Inflation Is the Enemy of Long-Term Interest Rates
As long as inflation is high, we’ll see higher mortgage rates. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen indications that inflation may be cooling, giving us a glimpse into what may happen in the future. The mortgage market is eagerly awaiting positive news on inflation. As Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zonda, says:
“The housing market is expected to face continued uncertainty heading into 2023 as consumers, financial markets, and policymakers work through their respective challenges in today’s economy. . . . we are watching for any additional stability in the MBS market, signs of cooling inflation, and/or less aggressive Federal Reserve action to give us confidence that mortgage rates are past their peak.”
What Does This Mean for the Future of Mortgage Rates?
As we get through the inflation battle and start to see that coming down, we should expect mortgage rates to follow. We’ve seen nods of this over the past couple of weeks. As the Federal Reserve works to bring inflation down, mortgage rates will come down as well. Bill McBride from Calculated Risk says:
“My current view is inflation will ease quicker than the Fed currently expects.”
As we look toward next year, we certainly hope he’s right.
Mortgage rates will come down – it’s just a matter of time. The hope is we continue to see more positive news on inflation, and that’ll bring mortgage rates down. This will give prospective homebuyers more buying power and lead to more homeowners throughout the country.
- Even with higher mortgage rates, the mortgage process doesn’t need to be something you fear. Here are some steps to help as you set out to buy a home.
- Know your credit score and work to build strong credit. When you’re ready, lean on the pros and connect with a lender so you can get pre-approved and begin your home search.
- Any major life change can be scary, and buying a home is no different. Let’s connect so you have an advisor by your side to take fear out of the equation.