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 Research, says:
“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):
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.
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.
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.
Connect with a professional if you have any questions about what you’re reading or hearing about the housing market.
As you think about the year ahead, one of your big goals may be moving. But, how do you know when to make your move? While spring is usually the peak homebuying season, you don’t actually need to wait until spring to sell. Here’s why.
1. Take Advantage of Lower Mortgage Rates
Last October, the 30-year fixed mortgage rates peaked at 7.79%. In January, they hit their lowest level since May. That means you may not feel as locked-in to your current mortgage rate right now. That downward trend in rates has made moving more affordable now than it was just a few months ago.
Another reason today’s rates make now a good time to sell? More buyers are jumping back into the market. Many had been waiting on the sidelines for rates to fall, but now that that’s happening, they’re eager and ready to buy. That means more demand for your house. According to Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac:
“Given this stabilization in rates, potential homebuyers with affordability concerns have jumped off the fence back into the market.”
2. Get Ahead of Your Competition
Right now, there are still more people looking to buy a home than there are houses for sale, which puts you in a great position. But keep in mind, with the recent uptick in new listings, we’re seeing more sellers may already be re-entering the market.
Listing your house now helps you beat your competition and makes sure your house will stand out. And if you work with an agent to price it right, it could sell fast and get multiple offers. U.S. News explains:
“When there is low housing inventory, sellers could get top dollar for their homes.”
3. Make the Most of Rising Home Prices
Experts forecast home prices will keep going up this year. What does that mean for you? If you’re ready to sell your current house and plan to buy another one, it may be a good idea to think about moving now before prices go up more. That would give you the chance to buy your next home before it gets more expensive.
4. Leverage Your Equity
Homeowners today have tremendous amounts of equity. In fact, a recent report from CoreLogic says the average homeowner with a mortgage has more than $300,000 in equity.
If you’ve been waiting to sell because you were worried about home affordability, know your equity can really help with your next move. It might even cover a big part, or maybe all, of the down payment for your next home.
If you’re thinking about selling your house and moving to another one, connect with a local real estate agent to get the process started now so you can get a leg up on your competition.
If you’re looking to buy a home, you’ve probably been paying close attention to mortgage rates. Over the last couple of years, they hit record lows, rose dramatically, and are now dropping back down a bit. Ever wonder why?
The answer is complicated because there’s a lot that can influence mortgage rates. Here are just a few of the most impactful factors at play.
Inflation and the Federal Reserve
The Federal Reserve (Fed) doesn’t directly determine mortgage rates. But the Fed does move the Federal Funds Rate up or down in response to what’s happening with inflation, the economy, employment rates, and more. As that happens, mortgage rates tend to respond. Business Insider explains:
“The Federal Reserve slows inflation by raising the federal funds rate, which can indirectly impact mortgages. High inflation and investor expectations of more Fed rate hikes can push mortgage rates up. If investors believe the Fed may cut rates and inflation is decelerating, mortgage rates will typically trend down.”
Over the last couple of years, the Fed raised the Federal Fund Rate to try to fight inflation and, as that happened, mortgage rates jumped up, too. Fortunately, the expert outlook for inflation and mortgage rates is that both should become more favorable over the course of the year. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.com, says:
“[M]ortgage rates will continue to ease in 2024 as inflation improves . . .”
There’s even talk the Fed may actually cut the Fed Funds Rate this year because inflation is cooling, even though it’s not yet back to their ideal target.
The 10-Year Treasury Yield
Additionally, mortgage companies look at the 10-Year Treasury Yield to decide how much interest to charge on home loans. If the yield goes up, mortgage rates usually go up, too. The opposite is also true. According to Investopedia:
“One frequently used government bond benchmark to which mortgage lenders often peg their interest rates is the 10-year Treasury bond yield.”
Historically, the spread between the 10-Year Treasury Yield and the 30-year fixed mortgage rate has been fairly consistent, but that’s not the case recently. That means, there’s room for mortgage rates to come down. So, keeping an eye on which way the treasury yield is trending can give experts an idea of where mortgage rates may head next.
With the Fed meeting later this week, experts in the industry will be keeping a close watch to see what they decide and what impact it’ll have on the economy. To navigate any mortgage rate changes and their impact on your moving plans, it’s best to have a team of professionals on your side.
When you read about the housing market, you’ll probably come across some information about inflation or recent decisions made by the Federal Reserve (the Fed). But how do those two things impact you and your homebuying plans? Here’s what you need to know.
The Federal Funds Rate Hikes Have Stalled
One of the Fed’s primary goals is to lower inflation. In order to do that, they started raising the Federal Funds Rate to slow down the economy. Even though this doesn’t directly dictate what happens with mortgage rates, it does have an impact.
Recently inflation has started to cool, a signal those increases worked and are bringing inflation back down. As a result, the Fed’s hikes have gotten smaller and less frequent. In fact, there haven’t been any increases since July (see graph below):
And not only has the Fed decided not to raise the Federal Funds Rate the last three times the committee met, they’ve signaled there may actually be rate cuts coming in 2024. According to the New York Times (NYT):
“Federal Reserve officials left interest rates unchanged in their final policy decision of 2023 and forecast that they will cut borrowing costs three times in the coming year, a sign that the central bank is shifting toward the next phase in its fight against rapid inflation.”
This indicates the Fed thinks the economy and inflation are improving. Why does that matter to you and your plans to buy a home? It could end up leading to lower mortgage rates and improved affordability.
Mortgage Rates Are Coming Down
Mortgage rates are influenced by a wide variety of factors, and inflation and the Fed’s actions (or as has been the case recently, inaction) play a big role. Now that the Fed has paused the increases, it looks more likely mortgage rates will continue their downward trend (see graph below):
Although mortgage rates may remain volatile, their recent trend combined with expert forecasts indicate they could continue to go down in 2024. That would improve affordability for buyers and make it easier for sellers to move since they won’t feel as locked-in to their current, low mortgage rate.
The Fed’s decisions have an indirect impact on mortgage rates. By not raising the Federal Funds Rate, mortgage rates are likely to continue declining. Rely on a trustworthy real estate expert to give you expert advice about changes in the housing market and how they affect you.