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.
Now that the end of 2022 is within sight, you may be wondering what’s going to happen in the housing market next year and what that may mean if you’re thinking about buying a home. Here’s a look at the latest expert insights on both mortgage rates and home prices so you can make your best move possible.
Mortgage Rates Will Continue To Respond to Inflation
There’s no doubt mortgage rates have skyrocketed this year as the market responded to high inflation. The increases we’ve seen were fast and dramatic, and the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate even surpassed 7% at the end of last month. In fact, it’s the first time they’ve risen this high in over 20 years (see graph below):
In their latest quarterly report, Freddie Mac explains just how fast the climb in rates has been:
“Just one year ago, rates were under 3%. This means that while mortgage rates are not as high as they were in the 80’s, they have more than doubled in the past year. Mortgage rates have never doubled in a year before.”
Because we’re in unprecedented territory, it’s hard to say with certainty where mortgage rates will go from here. Projecting the future of mortgage rates is far from an exact science, but experts do agree that, moving forward, mortgage rates will continue to respond to inflation. If inflation stays high, mortgage rates likely will too.
Home Price Changes Will Vary by Market
As buyer demand has eased this year in response to those higher mortgage rates, home prices have moderated in many markets too. In terms of the forecast for next year, expert projections are mixed. The general consensus is home price appreciation will vary by local market, with more significant changes happening in overheated areas. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, says:
“House price appreciation has slowed in all 50 markets we track, but the deceleration is generally more dramatic in areas that experienced the strongest peak appreciation rates.”
Basically, some areas may still see slight price growth while others may see slight price declines. It all depends on other factors at play in that local market, like the balance between supply and demand. This may be why experts are divided on their latest national forecasts (see graph below):
Today’s cooling housing market, the rise in mortgage rates, and mounting economic concerns have some people questioning: should I still buy a home this year? While it’s true this year has unique challenges for homebuyers, it’s important to factor the long-term benefits of homeownership into your decision.
Consider this: if you know people who bought a home 5, 10, or even 30 years ago, you’re probably going to have a hard time finding someone who regrets their decision. Why is that? The reason is tied to how you gain equity and wealth as home values grow with time.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:
“Home equity gains are built up through price appreciation and by paying off the mortgage through principal payments.”
Here’s a look at how just the home price appreciation piece can really add up over the years.
Home Price Growth Over Time
Even though home price appreciation has moderated this year, home values have still increased significantly in recent years. The map below uses data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to show just how noteworthy those gains have been over the last five years.
If you look at the percent change in home prices, you can see home prices grew on average by almost 64% nationwide over that period.
That means a home’s value can increase substantially in a short time. And if you expand that time frame even more, the benefit of homeownership and the drastic gains you stand to make become even clearer (see map below):
The second map shows, nationwide, home prices appreciated by an average of over 290% over roughly a thirty-year span.
While home price growth varies by state and local area, the nationwide average tells you the typical homeowner who bought a house thirty years ago saw their home almost triple in value over that time. This is why homeowners who bought their homes years ago are still happy with their decision.
Even if home price appreciation eases as the market cools this year, experts say home prices are still expected to appreciate nationally in 2023. That means, in most markets, your home should grow in value over the next year even if the pace is slower than it was during the peak market frenzy when prices skyrocketed.
The alternative to buying a home is renting, and rental prices have been climbing for decades. So why rent and fight annual lease hikes for no long-term financial benefit? Instead, consider buying a home. It’s an investment in your future that could set you up for long-term gains.
Whether you’re a potential homebuyer, seller, or both, you probably want to know: will home prices fall this year? Let’s break down what’s happening with home prices, where experts say they’re headed, and why this matters for your homeownership goals.
Last Year’s Rapid Home Price Growth Wasn’t the Norm
In 2021, home prices appreciated quickly. One reason why is that record-low mortgage rates motivated more buyers to enter the market. As a result, there were more people looking to make a purchase than there were homes available for sale. That led to competitive bidding wars which drove prices up. CoreLogic helps explain how unusual last year’s appreciation was:
“Price appreciation averaged 15% for the full year of 2021, up from the 2020 full year average of 6%.”
In other words, the pace of appreciation in 2021 far surpassed the 6% the market saw in 2020. And even that appreciation was greater than the pre-pandemic norm which was typically around 3.8%. This goes to show, 2021 was an anomaly in the housing market spurred by more buyers than homes for sale.
Home Price Appreciation Moderates Today
This year, home price appreciation is slowing (or decelerating) from the feverish pace the market saw over the past two years. According to the latest forecasts, experts say on average, nationwide, prices will still appreciate by roughly 10% in 2022 (see graph below):
Why do all of these experts agree prices will continue to rise? It’s simple. Even though housing supply is growing today, it’s still low overall thanks to several factors, including a long period of underbuilding homes. And experts say that’s going to help keep upward pressure on home prices this year. Additionally, since mortgage rates are higher this year than they were last year, buyer demand has slowed.
As the market undergoes this change, it’s true price appreciation this year won’t match the feverish pace in 2021. But the rapid appreciation the market saw last year wasn’t sustainable anyway.
What Does That Mean for You?
Today, the market is beginning to move back toward pre-pandemic levels. But even the forecast for 10% home price growth in 2022 is well beyond the 3.8% that’s more typical for a normal market.
So, despite what you may have heard, experts say home prices won’t fall in most markets. They’ll just appreciate more moderately.
If you’re worried the house you’re trying to sell or the home you want to buy will decrease in value, you should know experts aren’t calling for depreciation in most markets, just deceleration. That means your home should still grow in value, just not as fast as it did last year.
If you’re thinking of making a move, you shouldn’t wait for prices to fall. Experts say nationally, prices will continue to appreciate this year, just at a more moderate pace.
With all the headlines and buzz in the media, some consumers believe the market is in a housing bubble. As the housing market shifts, you may be wondering what’ll happen next. It’s only natural for concerns to creep in that it could be a repeat of what took place in 2008. The good news is, there’s concrete data to show why this is nothing like the last time.
There’s a Shortage of Homes on the Market Today, Not a Surplus
The supply of inventory needed to sustain a normal real estate market is approximately six months. Anything more than that is an overabundance and will causes prices to depreciate. Anything less than that is a shortage and will lead to continued price appreciation.
For historical context, there were too many homes for sale during the housing crisis (many of which were short sales and foreclosures), and that caused prices to tumble. Today, supply is growing, but there’s still a shortage of inventory available.
The graph below uses data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to show how this time compares to the crash. Today, unsold inventory sits at just a 3.0-months’ supply at the current sales pace.
One of the reasons inventory is still low is because of sustained underbuilding. When you couple that with ongoing buyer demand as millennials age into their peak homebuying years, it continues to put upward pressure on home prices. That limited supply compared to buyer demand is why experts forecast home prices won’t fall this time.
Mortgage Standards Were Much More Relaxed During the Crash
During the lead-up to the housing crisis, it was much easier to get a home loan than it is today. The graph below showcases data on the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The higher the number, the easier it is to get a mortgage.
Running up to 2006, banks were creating artificial demand by lowering lending standards and making it easy for just about anyone to qualify for a home loan or refinance their current home. Back then, lending institutions took on much greater risk in both the person and the mortgage products offered. That led to mass defaults, foreclosures, and falling prices.
Today, things are different, and purchasers face much higher standards from mortgage companies. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, says:
“Credit standards tightened in recent months due to increasing economic uncertainty and monetary policy tightening.”
Stricter standards, like there are today, help prevent a risk of a rash of foreclosures like there was last time.
The Foreclosure Volume Is Nothing Like It Was During the Crash
The most obvious difference is the number of homeowners that were facing foreclosure after the housing bubble burst. Foreclosure activity has been on the way down since the crash because buyers today are more qualified and less likely to default on their loans. The graph below uses data from ATTOM Data Solutions to help tell the story:
In addition, homeowners today are equity rich, not tapped out. In the run-up to the housing bubble, some homeowners were using their homes as personal ATMs. Many immediately withdrew their equity once it built up. When home values began to fall, some homeowners found themselves in a negative equity situation where the amount they owed on their mortgage was greater than the value of their home. Some of those households decided to walk away from their homes, and that led to a wave of distressed property listings (foreclosures and short sales), which sold at considerable discounts that lowered the value of other homes in the area.
Today, prices have risen nicely over the last few years, and that’s given homeowners an equity boost. According to Black Knight:
“In total, mortgage holders gained $2.8 trillion in tappable equity over the past 12 months – a 34% increase that equates to more than $207,000 in equity available per borrower. . . .”
With the average home equity now standing at $207,000, homeowners are in a completely different position this time.
If you’re worried we’re making the same mistakes that led to the housing crash, the graphs above should help alleviate your concerns. Concrete data and expert insights clearly show why this is nothing like the last time.