If you’re reading headlines about inflation or mortgage rates, you may see something about the recent decision from the Federal Reserve (the Fed). But what does it mean for you, the housing market, and your plans to buy a home? Here’s what you need to know.
Inflation and the Housing Market
While the Fed’s working hard to lower inflation, the latest data shows that, while the number has improved some, the inflation rate is still higher than the target (2%). That played a role in the Fed’s decision to raise the Federal Funds Rate last week. As Bankrateexplains:
“Keeping its inflation-fighting streak alive, the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates for the 10th time in 10 meetings . . . The hikes aimed to cool an economy that was on fire after rebounding from the coronavirus recession of 2020.”
While the Fed’s actions don’t directly dictate what happens with mortgage rates, their decisions do have an impact and contributed to the intentional cooldown in the housing market last year.
How This Impacts You
During times of high inflation, your everyday expenses go up. That means you’ve likely felt the pinch at the gas pump and in the grocery store. By raising the Federal Funds Rate, the Fed is actively trying to lower inflation. If the Fed is successful, it could also ultimately lead to lower mortgage rates and better homebuying affordability for you. That’s because when inflation is high, mortgage rates tend to be high. But, as inflation cools, experts say mortgage rates will likely fall.
Where Experts Think Mortgage Rates and Inflation Will Go from Here
Moving forward, both inflation and mortgage rates will continue to impact the housing market. And as Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:
“Mortgage rates are likely to descend lower later in the year as the consumer price inflation calms down . . .”
Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), explains:
“We continue to expect that mortgage rates will drift down over the course of the year as the economy slows . . .”
While there’s no way to say with certainty where mortgage rates will go from here, the experts think mortgage rates will trend down this year if inflation comes down too. To stay informed on the latest insights, connect with a trusted real estate advisor. They keep their pulse on what’s happening today and help you understand what the experts are projecting and how it could impact your homeownership plans.
Don’t let headlines about the latest decision from the Fed confuse you. Where mortgage rates go from here depends on what happens with inflation. If inflation cools, mortgage rates should tick down as a result. Let’s connect so you have expert insights on housing market changes and what they mean for you.
If you’re a homeowner thinking about making a move, you may wonder if it’s still a good time to sell your house. Here’s the good news. Even with higher mortgage rates, buyer traffic is actually picking up speed.
Data from the latest ShowingTime Showing Index, which is a measure of buyers actively touring homes, helps paint the picture of how much buyer demand has increased in recent months (see graph below):
As the graph shows, the first two months of 2023 saw a noticeable increase in buyer traffic. That’s likely because the limited number of homes for sale kept shoppers looking for homes even during colder months.
To help tell the story of why the latest report is significant, let’s compare foot traffic this February with each February for the last six years (see graph below). It shows this was one of the best Februarys for buyer activity we’ve seen in recent memory.
In the last six years, we saw the most February buyer traffic in 2021 and 2022 (shown in green above), but those years were highly unusual for the housing market. So, if we compare February 2023 with the more normal, pre-pandemic years, data shows this year still marks a clear rise in buyer activity.
The uptick in buyer traffic is even more noteworthy considering the increase in mortgage rates this February. The Freddie Mac 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose from 6.09% during the week of February 2nd to 6.50% in the week of February 23rd. But even with higher rates, more buyers were looking for a home.
Jeff Tucker, Senior Economist at Zillow, says the increased buyer activity could continue:
“More buyers will keep coming out of the woodwork. We always see a seasonal uptick in home shoppers in March and April . . .”
If you’re looking to sell your house, seeing buyers still active in the market this year should be encouraging. It’s a sign buyers are out there and could be looking for a home just like yours. Working with a real estate professional to list your house now will help you get your home in front of eager buyers today.
Rising foot traffic is a bright spot for this year’s housing market and indicates that buyers are looking to purchase this year, even with higher mortgage rates. If you’re ready to sell your house, let’s connect.
There’s been a lot of focus on higher mortgage rates and how they’re creating affordability challenges for today’s homebuyers. It’s true that rates climbed dramatically since the record-low we saw during the pandemic. But home affordability is based on more than just mortgage rates – it’s determined by a combination of mortgage rates, home prices, and wages.
Considering how each one of these factors is changing gives you the full picture of home affordability today. Here’s the latest.
1. Mortgage Rates
While mortgage rates are higher than they were a year ago, they’ve hovered primarily between 6% and 7% for nearly eight months now (see graph below):
As the graph shows, mortgage rates have experienced some volatility during that time. And even a small change in mortgage rates impacts your purchasing power. That’s why it’s so important to lean on your team of real estate professionals for expert advice to stay up to date on what’s happening in the market. While it’s hard to project where mortgage rates will go from here, many experts agree they’ll likely continue to remain around 6%-7% in the immediate future.
2. Home Prices
Over the past few years, home prices appreciated rapidly as the record-low mortgage rates we saw during the pandemic led to a surge in buyer demand. The heightened buyer demand happened while the supply of homes for sale was at record lows, and that imbalance put upward pressure on home prices. However, today’s higher mortgage rates have slowed down price appreciation.
And, the truth is, home price appreciation varies by market. Some areas are seeing slight declines while others have prices that are climbing. As Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains:
“The divergence in home price changes across the U.S. reflects a tale of two housing markets. Declines in the West are due to the tech industry slowdown and a severe lack of affordability after decades of undersupply. The consistent gains in the Southeast and South reflect strong job markets, in-migration patterns and relative affordability due to new home construction.”
To find out what’s happening with prices in your local market, reach out to a trusted real estate agent.
The most positive factor in affordability right now is rising income. The graph below uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to show how wages have grown over time:
Higher wages improve affordability because they reduce the percentage of your income it takes to pay your mortgage since you don’t have to put as much of your paycheck toward your monthly housing cost.
Home affordability comes down to a combination of rates, prices, and wages. If you have questions or want to learn more, reach out to a real estate professional who can explain what’s happening locally and how these factors work together.
If you’re planning to buy a home, knowing the key factors that impact affordability is important so you can make an informed decision. To stay up to date on the latest on each, let’s connect today.
The housing market’s been going through a lot of change lately, and there’s been uncertainty surrounding what will happen this spring. You may be wondering if more homes will go on the market, what’s next with home prices and mortgage rates, or what the best advice is for someone in your position right now.
Here’s what industry experts are saying right now about the spring housing market and what it means for you:
“We see more competition among buyers . . . Housing supply also tends to grow during the spring months. And this is also the time of year when relatively more migration happens, as people graduate and move elsewhere looking for jobs.”
“I don’t expect big moves in prices in the span of a month, but like the flower buds of spring, the housing market is showing signs of improvement. A pick up in activity with inventory still low does bode well for home prices.”
“If you can find a home you love and can afford at today’s prices, don’t wait. Home prices in most of the country are unlikely to crash, and mortgage rates will only come down very gradually if they decline at all this year.”
“The market is still much friendlier this spring for buyers who can overcome affordability hurdles, but buyers are going to see more competition than they might expect because there are not many homes on the market to go around. New listings are increasing, which they almost always do this time of year, but not nearly as quickly as usual.”
If you’re thinking about selling your house, this spring’s a great time to do so while inventory is still so low. And if you’re in a good position to buy, lean on your team of expert advisors for the best advice. Whatever your plans, let’s connect to make sure you’re able to navigate the spring housing market with confidence.
If you’re buying a home this spring, today’s housing market can feel like a challenge. With so few homes on the market right now, plus higher mortgage rates, it’s essential to have a firm grasp on your homebuying budget. You’ll also need a sense of determination to find the right house and act quickly when you go to put in an offer. One thing you can do to help you prepare is to get pre-approved.
To understand why it’s such an important step, you need to know what pre-approval is. As part of the process, a lender looks at your finances to determine what they’d be willing to loan you. From there, your lender will give you a pre-approval letter to help you understand how much money you can borrow.
“A pre-approval is an indication from your lender that they are willing to lend you a certain amount of money to buy your future home. . . . Keep in mind that the loan amount in the pre-approval letter is the lender’s maximum offer. Ultimately, you should only borrow an amount you are comfortable repaying.”
Basically, pre-approval gives you critical information about the homebuying process that’ll help you understand how much you may be able to borrow so you have a stronger grasp of your options. And with higher mortgage rates impacting affordability for many buyers today, a solid understanding of your numbers is even more important.
Pre-Approval Helps Show You’re a Serious Buyer
That’s not the only thing pre-approval can do. Another added benefit is it can help a seller feel more confident in your offer because it shows you’re serious about buying their house. And, with sellers seeing a slight increase in the number of offers again this spring, making a strong offer when you find the perfect house is key.
As a recent article from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) says:
“If you plan to use a mortgage for your home purchase, preapproval should be among the first steps in your search process. Not only can getting preapproved help you zero in on the right price range, but it can give you a leg up on other buyers, too.”
Getting pre-approved is an important first step when you’re buying a home. It lets you know what you can borrow for your loan and shows sellers you’re serious. Connect with a local real estate professional and a trusted lender so you have the tools you need to purchase a home in today’s market.
The spring season appears to be warming up in housing as more and more buyers enter the market. And after rising mortgage rates sidelined so many buyers last year, that’s a good sign for sellers. Realtor.comhas the latest:
“Spring is officially here, and like green shoots emerging from the bleak winter, new data suggests that more buyers are back in the market, although more subdued compared to a year ago.”
We know buyer activity is trending up because of mortgage purchase application data. According to Investopedia:
“A mortgage application is a document submitted to a lender when you apply for a mortgage to purchase real estate.”
That means the number of mortgage applications shows how many buyers are applying for mortgages. Put another way, an increase in mortgage applications means an increase in buyer demand – and as Joel Kan, VP and Deputy Chief Economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), explains, application activity started ramping up as mortgage rates fell steadily in March:
“Application activity increased as mortgage rates declined . . . recent increases, along with data from other sources showing an uptick in home sales, is a welcome development.”
In fact, we can see how mortgage rates have a direct impact on applications over time. As rates rose dramatically last year, applications fell in response (see graph below):
The recent uptick in mortgage applications, as well as the decline in mortgage rates, is good news for sellers because it means more buyers are actively looking for homes.
What This Means for You
Buyers are coming this spring, which is typically the busiest time of the year in real estate. And as Realtor.comtells us, if you’re a seller, you need to prepare:
“If homeowners are planning to sell in 2023, now is the time to get ready.”
The means working with a local real estate agent to maximize your home’s appeal and get it listed at the ideal price for your area.
The housing market is warming up for spring. If you’re thinking about selling your house and taking advantage of this recent uptick in buyer activity, let’s connect.
We’re still in a sellers’ market. And if you’re looking to buy a home, that means you’re likely facing some unique challenges, like difficulty finding a home and volatile mortgage rates. But keep in mind, there are some benefits to being a buyer in today’s market that give you good reason to stick with your search. Here are a few of them.
Long-Term Benefits Outweigh Short-Term Challenges
Owning a home grows your net worth – and since building that wealth takes time, it makes sense to start as soon as you can. If you wait to buy and keep renting, you’ll miss out on those monthly housing payments going toward your home equity. Freddie Macputs it this way:
“Homeownership not only builds a sense of pride and accomplishment, but it’s also an important step toward achieving long-term financial stability.”
The key there is long-term because the financial benefits homeownership provides, like home value appreciation and equity, grow over time. Those benefits are worth the short-term challenges today’s sellers’ market presents.
Mortgage Rates Are Constantly Changing
Mortgage rates have been hovering around 6.5% over the last several months. However, as Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, notes, they’ve been coming down some recently:
“Economic uncertainty continues to bring mortgage rates down. Over the last several weeks, declining rates have brought borrowers back to the market . . .”
Lower mortgage rates improve your purchasing power when you buy, and that can help make homeownership more affordable. Hannah Jones, Economic Data Analyst at realtor.com, explains:
“As we move into the spring buying season, mortgage rates have ticked lower, a welcomed sign of progress towards affordability.”
The recent drop in mortgage rates is good news if you couldn’t afford to buy a home when they peaked.
Home Prices Will Increase
According to the Home Price Expectation Survey, which polls over 100 real estate experts, home values will go up steadily over the next few years after a slight decline this year (see graph below):
Rising home prices in the coming years means two things for you as a buyer:
Waiting to buy a home could mean it’ll become more expensive to do so.
Buying now means the value of your home, and your net worth, will likely grow over time.
If you’ve been trying to buy a home, hang in there. Mortgage rates have ticked down some recently, home prices are forecast to increase in the coming years, and the long-term benefits of homeownership outweigh many of the short-term challenges.
The 30-year fixed mortgage rate has been bouncing between 6% and 7% this year. If you’ve been on the fence about whether to buy a home or not, it’s helpful to know exactly how a 1%, or even a 0.5%, mortgage rate shift affects your purchasing power.
The chart below helps show the general relationship between mortgage rates and a typical monthly mortgage payment:
Even a 0.5% change can have a big impact on your monthly payment. And since rates have been moving between 6% and 7% for a while now, you can see how it impacts your purchasing power as rates go down.
What This Means for You
You may be tempted to put your homebuying plans on hold in hopes that rates will fall. But that can be risky. No one knows for sure where rates will go from here, and trying to time them for your benefit is tough. Lisa Sturtevant, Housing Economist at Bright MLS, explains:
“It is typically a fool’s errand for a homebuyer to try to time rates in this market . . . But volatility in mortgage rates right now can have a real impact on buyers’ monthly payments.”
That’s why it’s critical to lean on your expert real estate advisors to explore your mortgage options, understand what impacts mortgage rates, and plan your homebuying budget around today’s volatility. They’ll also be able to offer advice tailored to your specific situation and goals, so you have what you need to make an informed decision.
Your ability to buy a home could be impacted by changing mortgage rates. If you’re thinking about making a move, let’s connect so you have a strong plan in place.
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