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What’s the Latest with Mortgage Rates?

What’s the Latest with Mortgage Rates?

Recent headlines may leave you wondering what’s next for mortgage rates. Maybe you’d previously heard there were going to be cuts this year that would bring rates down. That refers to the Federal Reserve (the Fed) and what they do to their Fed Funds Rate. While cutting, or lowering, the Fed Funds Rate doesn’t directly determine mortgage rates, it does tend to impact them. But when the Fed met last week, a cut didn’t happen — at least, not yet.

There are a lot of factors the Fed considered in their recent decision and most of them are complex. But you don’t need to be bogged down by those finer details. What you really want is the answer to this question: does that mean mortgage rates aren’t going to fall? Here’s what you need to know. 

Mortgage Rates Are Still Expected To Drop This Year

While it hasn’t happened yet, that doesn’t mean it won’t. Even Jerome Powell, the Chairman of the Fedsays they still plan to make cuts this year, assuming inflation cools:

“We believe that our policy rate is likely at its peak for this tightening cycle and that, if the economy evolves broadly as expected, it will likely be appropriate to begin dialing back policy restraint at some point this year.”

When this happens, history shows mortgage rates will likely follow. That means hope isn’t lost. As a recent article from Business Insider explains:

“As inflation comes down and the Fed is able to start lowering rates, mortgage rates should go down, too. . .

What This Means for You

But you don’t necessarily want to wait for it to happen. Mortgage rates are notoriously hard to forecast. There are so many factors at play and any one of those can change the projections as the economy shifts. And it’s why the experts offer this advice. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, says:

“Well, mortgage rate projections are just that, projections, not promises and don’t forget how hard it is to forecast them. . . So my advice is to never try to time the market . . . If one is financially prepared and buying a home aligns with your lifestyle goals, then it could be the right time to purchase. And there’s always the refinance option if mortgage rates are lower in the future.”

Basically, if you’re looking to move and trying to time the market, don’t. If you’re ready, willing, and able to move, it may still be worth it to do it now, especially if you can find the home you’ve been searching for.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to buy a home, connect with a local real estate agent so you have someone keeping you up-to-date on mortgage rates and helping you make the best decision possible.

What Mortgage Rate Do You Need To Move?

What Mortgage Rate Do You Need To Move?

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home, mortgage rates are probably top of mind for you. They may even be why you’ve put your plans on hold for now. When rates climbed near 8% last year, some buyers found the numbers just didn’t make sense for their budget anymore. That may be the case for you too.

Data from Bright MLS shows the top reason buyers delayed their plans to move is due to high mortgage rates (see graph below):

a graph of blue rectangles with text

David Childers, CEO at Keeping Current Matters, speaks to this statistic in the recent How’s The Market podcast:

“Three quarters of buyers said ‘we’re out’ due to mortgage rates. Here’s what I know going forward. That will change in 2024.”

That’s because mortgage rates have come down off their peak last October. And while there’s still day-to-day volatility in rates, the longer-term projections show rates should continue to drop this year, as long as inflation gets under control. Experts even say we could see rates below 6% by the end of 2024. And that threshold would be a gamechanger for a lot of buyers. As a recent article from Realtor.com says:

Buying a home is still desired and sought after, but many people are looking for mortgage rates to come down in order to achieve it. Four out of 10 Americans looking to buy a home in the next 12 months would consider it possible if rates drop below 6%.”

While mortgage rates are nearly impossible to forecast, the optimism from the experts should give you insight into what’s ahead. If your plans were delayed, there’s light at the end of the tunnel again. That means it may be time to start thinking about your move. The best question you can ask yourself right now, is this:

What number do I want to see rates hit before I’m ready to move?

The exact percentage where you feel comfortable kicking off your search again is personal. Maybe it’s 6.5%. Maybe it’s 6.25%. Or maybe it’s once they drop below 6%.

Once you have that number in mind, here’s what you do. Connect with a local real estate professional. They’ll help you stay informed on what’s happening. And when rates hit your target, they’ll be the first to let you know.

Bottom Line

 If you’ve put your plans to move on hold because of where mortgage rates are, think about the number you want to see rates hit that would make you ready to re-enter the market.

 

Once you have that number in mind, connect with a real estate professional so you have someone on your side to let you know when we get there.

Why We Aren’t Headed for a Housing Crash

Why We Aren’t Headed for a Housing Crash

If you’re holding out hope that the housing market is going to crash and bring home prices back down, here’s a look at what the data shows. And spoiler alert: that’s not in the cards. Instead, experts say home prices are going to keep going up.

Today’s market is very different than it was before the housing crash in 2008. Here’s why.

It’s Harder To Get a Loan Now – and That’s Actually a Good Thing

It was much easier to get a home loan during the lead-up to the 2008 housing crisis than it is today. Back then, banks had different lending standards, making it easy for just about anyone to qualify for a home loan or refinance an existing one.

Things are different today. Homebuyers face increasingly higher standards from mortgage companies. The graph below uses data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) to show this difference. The lower the number, the harder it is to get a mortgage. The higher the number, the easier it is:

a graph showing a line going up

The peak in the graph shows that, back then, lending standards weren’t as strict as they are now. That means lending institutions took on much greater risk in both the person and the mortgage products offered around the crash. That led to mass defaults and a flood of foreclosures coming onto the market.

There Are Far Fewer Homes for Sale Today, so Prices Won’t Crash

Because there were too many homes for sale during the housing crisis (many of which were short sales and foreclosures), that caused home prices to fall dramatically. But today, there’s an inventory shortage – not a surplus.

The graph below uses data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Federal Reserve to show how the months’ supply of homes available now (shown in blue) compares to the crash (shown in red):

a graph of a number of people

Today, unsold inventory sits at just a 3.0-months’ supply. That’s compared to the peak of 10.4 month’s supply back in 2008. That means there’s nowhere near enough inventory on the market for home prices to come crashing down like they did back then.

People Are Not Using Their Homes as ATMs Like They Did in the Early 2000s

Back in the lead up to the housing crash, many homeowners were borrowing against the equity in their homes to finance new cars, boats, and vacations. So, when prices started to fall, as inventory rose too high, many of those homeowners found themselves underwater.

But today, homeowners are a lot more cautious. Even though prices have skyrocketed in the past few years, homeowners aren’t tapping into their equity the way they did back then.

Black Knight reports that tappable equity (the amount of equity available for homeowners to access before hitting a maximum 80% loan-to-value ratio, or LTV) has actually reached an all-time high:

a graph of a growing graph

That means, as a whole, homeowners have more equity available than ever before. And that’s great. Homeowners are in a much stronger position today than in the early 2000s. That same report from Black Knight goes on to explain:

“Only 1.1% of mortgage holders (582K) ended the year underwater, down from 1.5% (807K) at this time last year.”

And since homeowners are on more solid footing today, they’ll have options to avoid foreclosure. That limits the number of distressed properties coming onto the market. And without a flood of inventory, prices won’t come tumbling down.

Bottom Line

While you may be hoping for something that brings prices down, that’s not what the data tells us is going to happen. The most current research clearly shows that today’s market is nothing like it was last time.

How Changing Mortgage Rates Impact You [INFOGRAPHIC]

How Changing Mortgage Rates Impact You [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights

Some Experts Say Mortgage Rates May Fall Below 6% Later This Year

Some Experts Say Mortgage Rates May Fall Below 6% Later This Year

There’s a lot of confusion in the market about what’s happening with day-to-day movement in mortgage rates right now, but here’s what you really need to know: compared to the near 8% peak last fall, mortgage rates have trended down overall.

And if you’re looking to buy or sell a home, this is a big deal. While they’re going to continue to bounce around a bit based on various economic drivers (like inflation and reactions to the consumer price index, or CPI), don’t let the short-term volatility distract you. The experts agree the overarching downward trend should continue this year.

While we won’t see the record-low rates homebuyers got during the pandemic, some experts think we should see rates dip below 6% later this year. As Dean Baker, Senior Economist, Center for Economic Researchsays:

“They will almost certainly not fall to pandemic lows, although we may soon see rates under 6.0 percent, which would be low by pre-Great Recession standards.

And Baker isn’t the only one saying this is a possibility. The latest Fannie Mae projections also indicate we may see a rate below 6% by the end of this year (see the green box in the chart below):

a blue and white graph with text

The chart shows mortgage rate projections for 2024 from Fannie Mae. It includes the one that came out in December, and compares it to the updated 2024 forecast they released just one month later. And if you look closely, you’ll notice the projections are on the way down.

It’s normal for experts to re-forecast as they watch current market trends and the broader economy, but what this shows is experts are feeling confident rates should continue to decline, if inflation cools.

What This Means for You

But remember, no one can say for sure what will happen (and by when) – and short-term volatility is to be expected. So, don’t let small fluctuations scare you. Focus on the bigger picture.

If you’ve found a home you love in today’s market – especially where finding a home that meets your budget and your needs can be a challenge – it’s probably not a good idea to try to time the market and wait until rates drop below 6%.

With rates already lower than they were last fall, you have an opportunity in front of you right now. That’s because even a small quarter point dip in rates gives your purchasing power a boost.

Bottom Line

If you wanted to move last year but were holding off hoping rates would fall, now may be the time to act. Connect with a real estate agent to get the ball rolling.

What’s Really Happening with Mortgage Rates?

What’s Really Happening with Mortgage Rates?

Are you feeling a bit unsure about what’s really happening with mortgage rates? That might be because you’ve heard someone say they’re coming down. But then you read somewhere else that they’re up again. And that may leave you scratching your head and wondering what’s true.

The simplest answer is: that what you read or hear will vary based on the time frame they’re looking at. Here’s some information that can help clear up the confusion.

Mortgage Rates Are Volatile by Nature

Mortgage rates don’t move in a straight line. There are too many factors at play for that to happen. Instead, rates bounce around because they’re impacted by things like economic conditions, decisions from the Federal Reserve, and so much more. That means they might be up one day and down the next depending on what’s going on in the economy and the world as a whole.

Take a look at the graph below. It uses data from Mortgage News Daily to show the ebbs and flows in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate since last October:

If you look at the graph, you’ll see a lot of peaks and valleys – some bigger than others. And when you use data like this to explain what’s happening, the story can be different based on which two points in the graph you’re comparing.

For example, if you’re only looking at the beginning of this month through now, you may think mortgage rates are on the way back up. But, if you look at the latest data point and compare it to the peak in October, rates have trended down. So, what’s the right way to look at it?

The Big Picture

Mortgage rates are always going to bounce around. It’s just how they work. So, you shouldn’t focus too much on the small, daily changes. Instead, to really understand the overall trend, zoom out and look at the big picture.

When you look at the highest point (October) compared to where rates are now, you can see they’ve come down compared to last year. And if you’re looking to buy a home, this is big news. Don’t let the little blips distract you. The experts agree, overall, that the larger downward trend could continue this year.

Bottom Line

Connect with a professional if you have any questions about what you’re reading or hearing about the housing market.