Buyers may be about to flood the biggest part of the housing market
New homebuyers may be about to flood the US market for existing homes to lock in the lowest mortgage rates they can.
In the past two weeks — since Donald Trump was elected president — mortgage rates jumped alongside other interest rates. This happened as investors raised their expectations for economic growth and inflation, placing their bets on Trump’s plans to spend heavily on infrastructure and cut taxes.
The Bankrate.com 30-year national average rate was up from 3.5 percent on Election Day to 3.95 percent on Tuesday, the highest level since December 2015. This is still historically low.
“In the short-term, some prospective buyers may rush to lock in their rate and buy now, while others — especially those in higher-priced markets — may be forced to delay as a larger monthly payment outstretches their budget,” Lawrence Yun, the chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, said in a data release on Tuesday.
The NAR released its monthly report on existing-home sales, which showed that sales rose at the highest annualized pace in a decade during October. Sales increased by 2 percent at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.60 million, beating economists’ consensus forecast.
And if mortgage rates continue rising, existing-home sales — which record the most housing transactions — could increase to record levels. Additionally, a strong jobs market and higher wages could offset any drop in demand that higher mortgage rates cause, according to David Berson, the chief economist at Nationwide.
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America's housing market is heating up again, fortifying the finances of current homeowners and frustrating potential first-time buyers.
After hitting bottom in 2012, home prices took off dramatically before leveling off a bit in mid-2014. In the last two months, though, they turned higher again. The amount of equity homeowners now have — the value outside their mortgage debt — has doubled in the last five years, according to CoreLogic.
The latest read on September home prices showed a 6.3 percent annual gain, a touch bigger than August and a clear sign that prices are heating up again after cooling through much of spring and summer. "Home-equity wealth has doubled during the last five years to $13 trillion, largely because of the recovery in home prices," said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. "Nationwide during the past year, the average gain in housing wealth was about $11,000 per homeowner, but with wide geographic variation."
All real estate is local, and while most states show gains in home values, the variance is wide. Connecticut and Alaska are the only states seeing annual price declines. For Connecticut, it is jobs plain and simple. The loss of major employers there, like General Electric's decision to move its headquarters to Boston, have hit the housing market hard.
Homeowners twice as house rich
as five years ago
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