What’s Ahead for Mortgage Rates and Home Prices?

What’s Ahead for Mortgage Rates and Home Prices?

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):

What’s Ahead for Mortgage Rates and Home Prices? | MyKCM

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):

What’s Ahead for Mortgage Rates and Home Prices? | MyKCM

Think Home Prices Are Going To Fall? Think Again

Think Home Prices Are Going To Fall? Think Again

Over the last two years, the rate of home prices appreciated at a dramatic pace. While that led to incredible equity gains for homeowners, it’s also caused some buyers to wonder if home prices will fall. It’s important to know the housing market isn’t a bubble about to burst, and home price growth is supported by strong market fundamentals.

To understand why price declines are unlikely, it’s important to explore what caused home prices to rise so much recently, and where experts say home prices are headed. Here’s what you need to know.

Home Prices Rose Significantly in Recent Years

The graph below uses the latest data from CoreLogic to illustrate the rise in home prices over the past year and a half. The gray bars represent the dramatic increase in the rate of home price appreciation in 2021. The blue bars show home prices are still rising in 2022, but not as quickly:

Think Home Prices Are Going To Fall? Think Again | MyKCM

You might be asking: why did home prices climb so much last year? It’s because there were more buyers than there were homes for sale. That imbalance put upward pressure on home prices because demand was extremely high, and supply was record low.

Where Experts Say Prices Will Go from Here

While housing inventory is increasing and buyer demand is softening today, there’s still a shortage of homes available for sale. That’s why the market is seeing ongoing price appreciation. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americanexplains it like this:

“. . .we’re still well below normal levels of inventory and that’s why even with the pullback in demand, we still see house prices appreciating. While there is more inventory, it’s still not enough.”

As a result, experts are projecting a more moderate rate of home price appreciation this year, which means home prices will continue rising, but at a slower pace. That doesn’t mean prices are going to fall. As Selma Hepp, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogicsays:

“The current home price growth rate is unsustainable, and higher mortgage rates coupled with more inventory will lead to slower home price growth but unlikely declines in home prices.”

In other words, even with higher mortgage rates, moderating buyer demand, and more homes for sale, experts say home price appreciation will slow, but prices won’t decline.

If you’re planning to buy a home, that means you shouldn’t wait for home prices to drop to make your purchase. Instead, buying today means you can get ahead of future price increases, and benefit from the rise in prices in the form of home equity.

Bottom Line

Home prices skyrocketed in recent years because there was more demand than supply. As the market shifts, experts aren’t forecasting a drop in prices, just a slowdown in the rate of price growth.