Friday, August 18, 2023

Mortgage Rates Hit 20 Year High

That sounds like an ominous thing. It really isn't as bad as it sounds however. The last 20 year cycle saw the lowest 30 year mortgage rates in the history or 30 year mortgages. We spent most of the last 15 years with rates under 5.5% So the headline sounds terrible, which is why every news outlet is running this very headline. They however do not take the time to cover the context, so I'll do that for you here.

According to over the last 50 years the average mortgage rate has been 7.81% Yes 7.81%. During that 50 year period we had both the highest and lowest 5 year stretches ever recorded. From 1980-1985 the average rate was 14.32% From 2017-2022 rates average 4.17%. Here we sit today with a national average mortgage rate at 7.09% well under that 50 year average but painfully higher than the recent lows of just a couple years ago.

The rates had a rather rapid climb and that creates a psychological shock which tends to makes things seem worse that they really are. Sure many homeowners have decided to stay put and enjoy their 2.9% 30 year mortgage they got back in 2021. This has created a scenario whereby there is a lack of homes for sale at a time when we should see lots of activity. Generally the period immediately after a rapid rise in home values leads to a bit of an equity grab as people sell their homes and move up or downsize. We are not seeing that nearly as much as we should. This may actually be staving off a market correction that should have happened right about now.

So the good news is home values are holding up well, the bad news is, it is tougher to buy in to this market right now. don't let a 7% mortgage scare you away from buying a home. It may limited your buying power but rates will come back down and an opportunity to refinance into a lower rate will arise in the future.

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