Wednesday, September 6, 2023 / by Joyce Dungca
If you’re hoping to buy a home this year, you’re probably paying close attention to mortgage rates. Since mortgage rates impact what you can afford when you take out a home loan – and affordability is a challenge today – it’s a good time to look at the big picture of where mortgage rates have been historically compared to where they are now. Beyond that, it’s important to understand their relationship with inflation for insights into where mortgage rates might go in the near future.
Giving Context to the Sticker Shock
Freddie Mac has been tracking the 30-year fixed mortgage rate since April of 1971. Every week, they release the results of their Primary Mortgage Market Survey, which averages mortgage application data from lenders across the country (see graph below):
Looking at the right side of the graph, mortgage rates have increased significantly since the start of last year. But even wi. ...
Thursday, August 31, 2023 / by Joyce Dungca
Have you ever wondered how inflation impacts the housing market? Believe it or not, they’re connected. Whenever there are changes to one, both are affected. Here’s a high-level overview of the connection between the two.
The Relationship Between Housing Inflation and Overall Inflation
Shelter inflation is the measure of price growth specific to housing. It comes from a survey of renters and homeowners that’s done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The survey asks renters how much they’re paying in rent, and homeowners how much they’d rent their homes for, if they weren’t living in them.
Much like overall inflation measures the cost of everyday items, shelter inflation measures the cost of housing. And for four consecutive months, based on that survey, shelter inflation has been coming down (see graph below):
Why does this matter? Well, shelter inflation makes up about one-third of overall inf. ...
Friday, August 18, 2023 / by Joyce Dungca
With ongoing high inflation pushing up everyday costs, some people are worried that'll create a flood of foreclosures. Here's why that's unlikely.
Fewer people are seriously behind on mortgage payments right now. If foreclosures were going to rise a lot, more people would need to be late on their payments.
Since most are paying on time, a wave isn’t coming. If you're concerned about a flood of foreclosures, the data shows that's not likely. ...
Thursday, August 3, 2023 / by Joyce Dungca
When you read about the housing market in the news, you might see something about a recent decision made by the Federal Reserve (the Fed). But how does this decision affect you and your plans to buy a home? Here's what you need to know.
The Fed is trying hard to reduce inflation. And even though there’s been 12 straight months where inflation has cooled (see graph below), the most recent data shows it’s still higher than the Fed’s target of 2%:
While you may have been hoping the Fed would stop their hikes since they’re making progress on their goal of bringing down inflation, they don’t want to stop too soon, and risk inflation climbing back up as a result. Because of this, the Fed decided to increase the Federal Funds Rate again last week. As Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Fed, says:
“We remain committed to bringing inflation back to our 2 percent goal and to keeping longer-term inflation e. ...
Wednesday, May 3, 2023 / by Raj Jaggi
If you’re a homeowner thinking about making a move, you may wonder if it’s still a good time to sell your house. Here’s the good news. Even with higher mortgage rates, buyer traffic is actually picking up speed.
Data from the latest ShowingTime Showing Index, which is a measure of buyers actively touring homes, helps paint the picture of how much buyer demand has increased in recent months (see graph below):
As the graph shows, the first two months of 2023 saw a noticeable increase in buyer traffic. That’s likely because the limited number of homes for sale kept shoppers looking for homes even during colder months.
To help tell the story of why the latest report is significant, let’s compare foot traffic this February with each February for the last six years (see graph below). It shows this was one of the best Februarys for buyer activity we’ve seen in recent memory.
In the last six years, we saw the most February buyer traffic in 2021 . ...