The past few years have brought a perpetually hot housing market to the U.S. that only now is starting to cool off, according to the latest RE/MAX National Housing Report. But with new interest rate hikes – including the most recent one on July 27 – instated by the U.S. Federal Reserve, consumers are left to wonder: Will the housing market undergo further change?
In attempts of slowing inflation that is rising nationwide, the Fed raised interest rates by an additional .75 percentage points. According to RE/MAX, LLC President and CEO Nick Bailey, The recent interest rate hikes are doing what they’re designed to do – cooling off an overly heated market and addressing unsustainable, double-digit price appreciation for homes. “After years of heavily favoring sellers, the market is finally rebalancing. With the rise in interest rates, alternatives to the 30-year fixed rate are on the rise. Adjustable-rate mortgages, FHA & first time home buyer options are helping bolster buyer demand and affordability,” Bailey says. Ward Morrison, President and CEO of Motto Franchising, LLC, agrees – and shares that the increased rates on mortgage could have a gradual impact on home prices. RE/MAX, LLC and Motto Franchising, LLC are subsidiaries of RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. “We are currently in a rising rate environment, one that’s being fueled by the impact of high inflation. But what’s important to keep in mind is that there is a consistent correlation between interest rates and home prices,” Morrison explains. “As interest rates rise, there tends to be an inverse reaction to home valuations.” He continues, “Due to the nature of the strong seller’s market, we likely won’t see prices decrease as rapidly as we have in the past. But we are seeing buyers move through the homebuying process much quicker due to less competition, meaning increasing interest rates can be a positive as they can create more buying opportunities for consumers.” Dustin England, a Loan Originator with Motto Mortgage Elite in Snohomish, Washington, demystifies the confusion surrounding rising rates and their economic impact on one’s ability to buy or sell a home. “The ultra-low interest rates we had through the pandemic have led to an overheating of the economy, with inflation as the result. Housing in some areas went up 50% in less than two years, which is of course very unsustainable,” England says. “There is a lot of confusion in the news, especially about the impact of the Fed increasing the federal funds rate. “The federal funds rate has no direct impact on mortgage rates. Mortgage rates are set by the demand for Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) and the demand for rates of return is set by the investors who buy MBS products. By raising the Federal Funds rate, the Fed is working to bring inflation down to its target rate of 2% by slowing down the economy. As the inflation percentages decline, we [may] see mortgage rates decline as well." England believes that regardless of the state of the economy, housing is one asset that remains valuable and stable. “There is still a housing shortage in the US [and there’s still strong demand from buyers], which should keep the housing market stable,” he adds. “This is a great time to buy a house. You can negotiate terms, get inspections, and have some time to decide, as every house is not going pending four days after it was listed.” Ultimately, buyers are still taking advantage of current rates and are making homeownership possible even during a slight shift in market conditions. “Overall household formation and demand remain very high and the return to a more balanced market will provide buyers more opportunity,” Bailey says.
Written by RE/MAX News