Mortgage rates have already been rising in recent weeks, averaging above 4%. While it was expected that the Federal Reserve would raise the federal funds rate at their meeting on Wednesday, December 14th, it’s been indicated that they plan to raise it three more times in 2017. This will allow lenders to continue to raise their prime lending rate, which most did after yesterday’s decision, putting the average rate for 30 year fixed mortgages between 4.25 and 4.375%.
Economists believe that the rates will hover close to where they are at for now. However, with the Fed predicting several more rate hikes in 2017, there is concern that mortgage rates will continue to rise throughout 2017.
So how will this impact the housing market? It will impact first-time home buyers as they consider what they can afford. A rise in mortgage rates will impact how much home they can invest in. With home costs on the rise, this may price some buyers out of the market. However, there is still a short window of time. Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist with Realtor.com, was quoted in a Housingwire article stating, “Rates will likely stay the same until about March, so buyers considering a purchase in 2017 may want to consider getting into the market now.”
A long term impact of rising rates is that housing price appreciation will slow. As rates rise, some buyers will be forced to look at lower priced homes or turn away from buying altogether. This will result in fewer buyers, less competition and homes will stay on the market longer. Ultimately, this may result in home price appreciation slowing or even stabilizing. This will be good for some markets where home prices have been increasing by double digit percentages, making it an unbalanced seller’s market. In these areas the market will become more balanced, increasingly favoring buyers.
With mortgage rates rising, now is a great time to sell and/or buy real estate to avoid the potential for even higher rates in the Spring of 2017, potentially edging you out of opportunities.
About the author: Sean Gilliam is a Realtor® with RE/MAX Alliance in Northern Colorado and is a Certified New Home Specialist™. Sean can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 970-313-6706. For additional articles see Sean’s blog or to search for properties see his web page.
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