Monetary Policy: How Will The Fed’s Rate Hike Affect Home Affordability?

By KIMBERLEY HAAS With the Federal Reserve raising interest rates seven times this year – and with more rate hikes on the way in 2023 – people are wondering if their policies to cool inflation are unfairly punishing those in the housing market. The Fed’s policy-setting committee raised its benchmark rate a half-point to 4.5% this week. The goal is to reach 2% inflation by controlling monetary policy. The chair of the Federal Reserve opened his press conference on Wednesday saying that he would like to underscore for the American people that they understand the hardship that high inflation is causing. Jerome Powell said the U.S. economy has slowed significantly from last year’s rapid pace. “Recent indicators point to modest…

Rates Dip Again

Mortgage interest rates dipped modestly again last week, the fifth consecutive week of decline, Freddie Mac reported Thursday. Freddie’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey found that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.31%, down from 6.33% the week prior. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.12 percent. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell from 5.67% to 5.54%. A year ago, it averaged 2.34%. “Mortgage rates continued their downward trajectory this week, as softer inflation data and a modest shift in the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy reverberated through the economy,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “The good news for the housing market is that recent declines in rates have led to a stabilization in purchase demand. The bad…

Hitting The Market During The Holidays? What Sellers And Buyers Need To Know

By KIMBERLEY HAAS The housing market traditionally cools during the holiday season as people focus on family and friends but industry leaders say it is a good time for potential sellers and buyers to weigh their options. After mortgage rates recently surged above 7%, real estate activity and consumer sentiment took a nosedive. Home delistings hit a record high in November as sellers and buyers pulled out of the market, according to journalists Lily Katz and Ben Walzer at Redfin. Markets where home prices skyrocketed during the pandemic are now cooling the fastest. In Sacramento, Calif., an average of 3.6% of active listings were delisted per week during the 12 weeks ending on November 27, up 1.6 percentage points from one year earlier.…

Rates Fall For Fourth Straight Week

Mortgage interest rates slipped again last week, marking the fourth consecutive week of decline, Freddie Mac reported Thursday. Freddie’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey found that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.33%, down from 6.49% the week prior. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.10 percent. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell from 5.76% to 5.67%. A year ago, it averaged 2.38%. “Over the last four weeks, mortgage rates have declined three-quarters of a point, the largest decline since 2008,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “While the decline in rates has been large, homebuyer sentiment remains low with no major positive reaction in purchase demand to these lower rates.” Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index broke…

Rates Decline Again, Further Evidence They May Have Peaked

Mortgage interest rates fell again last week to 6.49%, Freddie Mac reported Thursday. Freddie’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey found that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.49%, down from 6.58% the week prior. Weeks of decline have made some analysts optimistic that rates have peaked. “We probably have seen peak mortgage rates unless there is some other major shock to the economy,” Cris deRitis, deputy chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, told NextAdvisor. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage also fell from 5.90% to 5.76%. A year ago, it averaged 2.39%. “Mortgage rates continued to drop this week as optimism grows around the prospect that the Federal Reserve will slow its pace of rate hikes,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist.  “Even as…

Rates See Largest Weekly Decline In 40 Years

Mortgage interest rates sank to 6.60% last week, Freddie Mac reported Thursday. Freddie’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey found that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.60%, down from 7.08% the week prior. This is the largest weekly drop in 40 years. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage also fell from 6.38% to 5.98%. A year ago, it averaged 2.39%. As a result, the typical monthly mortgage payment declined by $100, giving a typical homebuyer with a $2,500 budget $12,000 more purchasing power over the course of just one week. “Mortgage rates tumbled this week due to incoming data that suggests inflation may have peaked,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist.  “While the decline in mortgage rates is welcome news, there is still…

Rates Shoot Back Above 7%, Veterans Expect Housing Search To Be “Challenging”

Mortgage interest rates tipped back over 7% last week, continuing to yo-yo back and forth from the high 6.90s, Freddie Mac reported Thursday. Freddie’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey found that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 7.08%, up from 6.95% the week prior. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 2.98%. “As the housing market adjusts to rapidly tightening monetary policy, mortgage rates again surpassed 7%,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist.  “The housing market is the most interest-rate sensitive segment of the economy, and the impact rates have on homebuyers continues to evolve. Home sales have declined significantly and, as we approach year-end, they are not expected to improve.” Purchase loans ticked up recently after a…

Ravi Shankar Returns To Freddie Mac As SVP

Ravi Shankar has joined Freddie Mac as senior VP and head of Single-Family Portfolio and Servicing, the GSE announced in a press release. Shankar is returning to Freddie Mac, having served as an executive for the GSE from 2013 to 2019. In that period, he served as SVP for Single-Family Portfolio Management and deputy head of Investments and Capital Markets, respectively. He is a member of the company’s senior operating committee and reports to its president, Mike Hutchins. “Ravi Shankar brings substantial experience to the company as a respected financial services leader, portfolio manager, and Freddie Mac alum. I am pleased to welcome him back to the company,” said Mike Hutchins, President of Freddie Mac. “I look forward to working…

Rates Dip Under 7%, But “Serene Stretch” Likely To End In Coming Days

Mortgage interest rates softened last week after shooting above 7%, falling back to 6.95%, Freddie Mac reported Thursday. Freddie’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey found that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.95%, down from 7.08% the week prior. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.09%. “Mortgage rates continue to hover around 7%, as the dynamics of a once-hot housing market have faded considerably,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist.  “Unsure buyers navigating an unpredictable landscape keep demand declining while other potential buyers remain sidelined from an affordability standpoint. Yesterday’s interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve will certainly inject additional lead into the heels of the housing market.” The Federal Reserve approved another 75 BPS interest…

Q&A About Mortgage Rates With Economist Orphe Divounguy

By KIMBERLEY HAAS With the average mortgage rate hitting over 7% for the first time in 20 years, people are talking about what the 2023 housing market will look like. Freddie Mac reported Thursday that their Primary Mortgage Market Survey found the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 7.08%, up from 6.94% the week prior. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.14%, and in 2021, existing-home sales hit 6.12 million, their highest level since 2006. Zillow’s Home Value and Sales Forecast now calls for 5.2 million existing home sales in 2022, up slightly from September’s expectations for 5.1 million sales following a better-than-expected August. The outlook from there is cloudier and recent declines in mortgage applications and pending home…