Mortgage Rates and the Market

Mortgage rates are a factor for both buyers and sellers, which means agents need to be aware of what they’re doing on any given week. However, focusing too much on what economists or the news media say can throw you off track.

This blog explains the impact that lower mortgage rates have in fueling housing market optimism.

Solid Ground

One of the factors of there being such optimism for the 2019 year in regard to the market is the fact that mortgage rates are at their lowest levels in 10 months. This comes even as many economists and mortgage lenders were warning of higher interest rates in 2019.

Spring Buying Gets a Push

With the recent downtrend in rates and extra inventory opening up, the spring homebuying market will have an extra push. Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater stated that “the U.S. economy remains on solid ground, inflation is contained and the threat of higher short-term rates is fading from view, which has allowed mortgage rates to drift down.”

Mortgage Rates Are Stable

Mortgage rates stood at an average APR of 4.41 percent on the standard 30-year fixed-rate loan, just 0.09 above last years’ levels, according to a February report by Freddie Mac.

Consumer Bargaining Power is High

Khater goes on to mention that today’s buyers have a larger selection of homes on the market as well as more consumer bargaining power than they’ve had in the last few years. Couple that with these low mortgage rates and there could be an early rally for the spring housing market.

Economists Eye the Fed

A key component in the market is what actions the Federal Reserve will make. In late 2018 there were signs that the Fed was going to continue raising rates, and some economists estimated at least three rate increases for 2019.

However, economic data gave Fed chair Jerome Powell cause to rethink that idea. Now a recent survey of economists done by the Wall Street Journal shows that most don’t expect a rate hike before June.

Furthermore, most economist agree that there will likely only one more rate hike, probably in late 2019. This will effectively keep borrowing costs much lower than previously anticipated through 2019 and 2020.

Borrowing costs hinge on forward-looking indicators such as Fed meeting minutes and the consensus of economists, so reduced expectations on rate hikes for 2019 may keep mortgages more affordable for the first half of the year. However, there is a good deal of uncertainty baked into every economic forecast, so even expert consensus may not be a reality.

Keeping Focus

Given the uncertainty, it’s key to be a levelheaded. It’s never a good idea to rely 100 percent on what an economist says MAY happen in the future is a good move. Being informed but also taking the information given with a grain of salt will put you more at ease and allow you to properly respond to the housing market.

 The real estate market has many indicators to look at and factors that play a role. Being in the know and taking note of the trends is key in planning the road ahead. For more valuable tips and tactics on mortgage rates check out our AgentEDU course dedicated to Mortgage rates. You can start with a seven-day free trial and gain access to the “Real Estate Mortgage Basics” course.

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