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):
While higher mortgage rates are creating affordability challenges for homebuyers this year, there is some good news for those people still looking to buy a home.
As the market has cooled this year, some of the intensity buyers faced during the peak frenzy of the pandemic has cooled too. Here are just a few trends that may benefit you when you go to buy a home today.
1. More Homes To Choose from
During the pandemic, housing supply hit a record low at the same time buyer demand skyrocketed. This combination made it difficult to find a home because there just weren’t enough to meet buyer demand. According to Calculated Risk, the supply of homes for sale increased by 39.5% for the week ending October 28 compared to the same week last year.
Even though it’s still a sellers’ market and supply is still lower than more normal levels, you have more to choose from in your home search. That makes finding your dream home a bit less difficult.
2. Bidding Wars Have Eased
One of the top stories in real estate over the past two years was the intensity and frequency of bidding wars. But today, things are different. With more options, you’ll likely see less competition from other buyers looking for homes. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average number of offers on recently sold homes has declined. This September, the average was 2.5 offers per sale. In contrast, last September, the average was 3.7 offers per sale.
If you tried to buy a house over the past two years, you probably experienced the bidding war frenzy firsthand and may have been outbid on several homes along the way. Now you have a chance to jump back into the market and enjoy searching for a home with less competition.
3. More Negotiation Power
And when you have less competition, you also have more negotiating power as a buyer. Over the last two years, more buyers were willing to skip important steps in the homebuying process, like the appraisal or inspection, to try to win a bidding war. But the latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the percentage of buyers waiving those contingencies is going down.
As a buyer, this is good news. The appraisal and the inspection give you important information about the value and condition of the home you’re buying. And if something turns up in the inspection, you have more power today to renegotiate with the seller.
A survey from realtor.com confirms more sellers are accepting offers that include contingencies today. According to that report, 95% of sellers said buyers requested a home inspection, and 67% negotiated with buyers on repairs as a result of the inspection findings.
While buyers still face challenges today, they’re not necessarily the same ones you may have been up against just a year or so ago. If you were outbid or had trouble finding a home in the past, now may be the moment you’ve been waiting for.
Mortgage rates have increased significantly in recent weeks. And that may mean you have questions about what this means for you if you’re planning to buy a home. Here’s some information that can help you make an informed decision when you set your homebuying plans.
The Impact of Rising Mortgage Rates
As mortgage rates rise, they impact your purchasing power by raising the cost of buying a home and limiting how much you can comfortably afford. Here’s how it works.
Let’s assume you want to buy a $400,000 home (the median-priced home according to the National Association of Realtors is $389,500). If you’re trying to shop at that price point and keep your monthly payment about $2,500-2,600 or below, here’s how your purchasing power can change as mortgage rates climb (see chart below). The red shows payments above that threshold and the green indicates a payment within your target range.
As the chart shows, as rates go up, the amount you can afford to borrow decreases and that may mean you have to look at homes at a different price point. That’s why it’s important to work with a real estate advisor to understand how mortgage rates impact your monthly mortgage payment at various home loan amounts.
Are Mortgage Rates Going To Go Down?
The rise in mortgage rates and the resulting decrease in purchasing power may leave you wondering if you should wait for rates to go down before making your purchase. Realtor.com says this about where rates could go from here:
“Many homebuyers likely winced . . . upon hearing that the Federal Reserve yet again boosted its short-term interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point—a move that’s pushing mortgage rates through the roof. And the already high rates are just going to get higher.”
So, if you’re waiting for mortgage rates to drop, you may be waiting for a while as the Federal Reserve works to get inflation under control.
And if you’re considering renting as your alternative while you wait it out, remember that’s going to get more expensive with time too. As Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:
“There is no doubt that these higher rates hurt housing affordability. Nevertheless, apart from borrowing costs, rents additionally rose at their highest pace in nearly four decades.”
Basically, it is true that it costs more to buy a home today than it did last year, but the same is true for renting. This means, either way, you’re going to be paying more. The difference is, with homeownership, you’re also gaining equity over time which will help grow your net worth. The question now becomes: what makes more sense for you?
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.