The following article by ERA Key President and COO Cheryl Eidinger-Taylor was published recently in Banker & Tradesman.
Thirty-year fixed mortgage rates have risen more than 260% since the year 2020, when the year ended with an average rate of 2.67%, according to Freddie Mac.
Today’s average mortgage rate is 6.96%, which may seem high compared with the historically low rate of 2020, but it’s still below the historical average of 7.74% from 1971 to the present. And those who need a mortgage can be thankful that today’s rates are far below the 18.53% average rate reached in October 1981, when rates were raised to lower inflation that was even higher than we’ve recently experienced.
But what can we expect moving forward? Will rates continue to rise? Or will they drop back to a lower level?
Many experts believe mortgage rates will fall moderately in the coming months. For example, Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater said that, with inflation decelerating, rates should “gently decline” over the remainder of 2023. Others predicted rates could drop to 5.5% to 6.6% by year’s end:
- Fannie Mae’s July Housing Forecast predicts that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will drop to 6.6% by the end of 2023 and 5.9% by the end of 2024.
- The National Association of Realtors expects that the 30-year fixed rate will fall to 6.0% by year’s end and 5.6% in 2024.
- Bank of America Global Research predicts that rates will drop to 5.25% by the end...
In spite of the pandemic, home sales are booming both nationally and here in Worcester County.
Sales increased by a record 24.7% from June to July, according to the National Association of Realtors, which said the gain is the strongest since the NAR began its monthly survey in 1968.
With the economy beginning to reopen and Realtors adjusting to doing more of their work online, it’s no surprise that July sales showed a significant increase from June. However, sales were also up 8.7% from July 2019 — before the pandemic.
Sales were driven not only by the re-opening economy, but by record-low mortgage rates. Unfortunately for buyers, low rates and a shortage of inventory boosted the price of homes sold by 8.5% from a year earlier to $304,100. Even when adjusted for inflation, the price is 3.4% higher than the price during the 2006 bubble.
We expect the current seller’s market to continue until inventory increases. Downsizing baby boomers will help add to inventory, but an increase in new construction is also needed. New housing was being constructed in July at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,496,000 homes. That’s 22.6% higher than the June estimate of 1,220,000 homes and is 23.4% higher than the July 2019 rate of 1,212,000 homes.
If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are probably getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family will have your best interest at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market.
Ask yourself the following 3 questions to help determine if now is actually a good time for you to buy in today’s market.
1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?
This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with money.
For example, a recent survey by Braun showed that over 75% of parents say “their child’s education is an important part of the search for a new home.”
This survey supports a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which revealed that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money. They are:
- A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
- A place where you and your family feel safe
- More space for you and your family
- Control of that space