Bankrate.com recently released data that mortgage rates increased again in the first week of November. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate average now stands at 7.35%, which is 0.25% higher than it was the preceding week. It looks bleak compared to how it was in November 2021, when it was 3.33%.
The recent mortgage rate surge came about because of the Federal Reserve’s implemented programs in an attempt to keep inflation under control. Since June, the Fed has spent $40 million on mortgage-backed securities and $80 billion monthly on Treasury bonds, with more on the way. This whole scheme is meant to keep the interest rates low, while encouraging people to pump more cash back into the economy or take out more loans.
The Fed’s actions, though well-intentioned, have unfortunately caused mortgage rates to rise. Because the bond prices are falling, their yields are increasing, taking mortgage rates up with them. Now, the Federal Reserve is in a bind; if the quantitative easing does not stop, homebuyers will face difficulty securing loans. On the other hand, stopping the program stops comes with a risk of halting any economic progress made thus far.
Effects of the Rising Rates
The mortgage rates that have risen result in costlier home prices. Home sales become fewer, and this may pull the prices down with it. If this trend continues, an increase in home prices will make sellers more cautious about listing their homes, which would exacerbate the housing inventory shortage.
If you happen to take out a low-interest loan when the pandemic was still bad, the steeper rates might make refinancing less inaccessible for you in the near future. Just November last year, the mortgage rates were at their lowest they had ever been—2.98% on average for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. Because of this lull in housing prices combined with work-from-home arrangements becoming increasingly popular, many Americans could afford to buy homes—thus resulting in markedly increased activity in the housing market towards early 2020.
The rate, now at its highest in 16 years, has led to a prediction from Goldman Sachs. They state that there is a possibility of causing more foreclosures as people have trouble making their monthly payments on time.
The Federal Reserve’s program tried to keep the costs of loans low and encouraged people to shell out cash. Unfortunately, the effect of the program was contrary when it came to mortgage interest rates, as bond prices fell and yields rose.
In addition, people with adjustable-rate mortgages may have to make higher monthly payments because of the rising mortgage rates.
What Happens to People with a Mortgage
In simpler terms, this means that people with mortgages will have to pay more to their mortgage lender. When the Federal Reserve purchases bonds, mortgage rates automatically increase in reaction.
Many people have adjustable-rate mortgages that can rise or fall with the benchmark rate’s fluctuations, but these rates usually start at the bottom. If someone took out their mortgage around 10 years ago and only paid small amounts for it, they’re currently in the worst possible situation.
The new, higher interest rates have prompted people to consider adjustable-rate mortgages over fixed-rate ones. If you take out a fixed-rate mortgage now, you would have to pay a hefty sum on interest. Alternatively, if you take out an adjustable-rate mortgage now, there is a possibility that rates will be lower in the future — though they could also be higher. Predicting what will happen is impossible.
Will Mortgage Rates Go Down?
Unfortunately, the chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, stated that this will not stop anytime soon—in his own words, “it’s very premature, in my view, to think about or be talking about pausing.” Nevertheless, there is hope that the rates will ease up starting December, but their decision will depend on the data. He acknowledges the amount of activity the housing market experienced in the past two years after the pandemic—demand was high, but rates were down. Unfortunately, this industry took the brunt of the effects of their policies.
The reports about home sales numbers will be delivered to them in the next couple of weeks, and it will show what their policy’s effects are on the market. This may turn the tides and change their minds.
The recent spike in mortgage rates is bound to affect more than just the housing market; it will also shape how our economy progresses. To put it simply, people looking to buy a house will have to think harder about whether they can afford one and those with adjustable-rate mortgages or lines of credit will see their monthly bills go up. No matter what happens, this change is sure to shake things up in significant ways.