In the world of real estate, the first letter of the alphabet is quite significant. Today, our focus keyword starts with ‘M’ for mortgage, and we’ve got a story that’s been making waves in the housing market. Mortgage rates have dipped slightly but continue to linger above 7% for the fourth consecutive week, causing ripples in the world of homebuying.
The latest data from Freddie Mac reveals that the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has edged down to 7.12% for the week ending September 7, a slight decrease from the previous week’s 7.18%. However, when compared to a year ago when the rate was a more manageable 5.89%, it’s clear that the current rates are causing some strain in the housing market.
The 15-year mortgage rates are also feeling the pressure, with an average rate of 6.52%, down from 6.55% just a week ago and a significant jump from 5.16% a year earlier.
These soaring mortgage rates have brought the issue of affordability front and center, leaving both buyers and sellers in a dilemma. According to Redfin, today’s average homeowner, with rates above 7%, is shelling out a hefty $2,612 each month for an average-priced home. These rising costs have led to a dampened demand for home purchases, with mortgage-purchase applications hitting a 28-year low.
Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist, Sam Khater, shared his insights, stating, “For the fourth consecutive week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hovered above seven percent. The economy remains buoyant, which is encouraging for consumers. Though while inflation has decelerated, firmer economic data have put upward pressure on mortgage rates which, in the face of affordability challenges, are straining potential homebuyers.”
So, what can prospective homebuyers do to navigate these turbulent waters? The answer may lie in shopping around for a mortgage. Credible can help you compare interest rates from various lenders, ensuring you secure the best deal possible.
While mortgage rates keep climbing, home prices are also on the rise, defying the affordability crisis, thanks in part to a shortage of available housing. After experiencing a slight uptick in May and June, the annual growth rate in home prices spiked to 2.3% in July.
This scarcity in supply can be attributed, in part, to the enticing sub-5% pandemic-era mortgage rates that have homeowners reluctant to let go of their existing deals. Black Knight’s Vice President of Enterprise Research, Andy Walden, remarked, “Home prices continued to rise in July, hitting a new record high for the third month running. If price gains were to maintain their current pace – which is unlikely given how tight affordability has become – it would result in annual gains returning above 7.5% by the end of the year.”
However, Walden also noted signs that the rapid appreciation in home prices may be slowing down. Monthly price increases in July were smaller compared to the figures seen over the past 25 years. Additionally, data from Black Knight’s rate lock and sales transactions indicated lower average purchase prices and seasonally adjusted price per square foot in recent sales.
So, if you’re contemplating becoming a homeowner, your best bet may be to explore various mortgage rates. Head over to Credible and compare options from different lenders without affecting your credit score.
Looking ahead, it appears that the housing market’s fate is closely tied to mortgage rates and housing supply. The Federal Reserve’s actions will play a pivotal role in determining the future of the real estate landscape.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell recently expressed concern over lingering inflation during a conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. In July, inflation reached 3.2%, surpassing the Fed’s 2% target rate. To combat this, the central bank has increased rates 11 times since 2022 to bring inflation back in line.
Realtor.com’s Chief Economist, Danielle Hale, weighed in, stating, “Despite some upticks in the market for new homes, home sales activity overall remains relatively low. And although home price momentum picked up in August and has continued into early September, rent prices have trended lower, which will likely help move inflation back toward its target in the months ahead.”
Hale also emphasized the importance of closely monitoring mortgage rate volatility to ensure economic stability.
In conclusion, the real estate market is navigating challenging waters, with mortgage rates and housing supply being key factors. If you’re considering locking in a favorable mortgage rate, or even refinancing your existing one, reach out to Credible to consult with a mortgage expert who can address your questions and concerns.
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