By Adam Barnes
June 14, 2023
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High mortgage rates are taking a toll on the housing market
High mortgage rates are taking a toll on the housing market, keeping would-be buyers on the sidelines and potential sellers — some of whom are tied to low rates secured during the pandemic — in their current homes.
About two-thirds of potential home sellers in a new poll from Credit Karma said they are willing to wait out current market conditions marred by mortgage rates consistently above 6 percent, while just a quarter said they would not be deterred by higher rates.
Among those who said they would be willing to wait for mortgage rates to come down, 79 percent of millennials said they would delay their plans.
Homeowners who are planning to sell within the next three years are willing to make sacrifices to avoid high rates, including staying in a smaller place than necessary, delaying having children and continuing to live with an ex-spouse or ex-partner.
“While it’s not surprising that homeowners are apprehensive about selling their home in fear of losing their low mortgage rate, there are other factors to contemplate beyond mortgage rates when deciding when is the right time to sell,” Aniva Hinduja, general manager of home and mortgage at Credit Karma, said in a statement.
For homeowners who are unhappy with their current housing situation, it may not be worth holding out for rates to fall. If they can afford to make that next home purchase while rates are where they’re at, there will likely be a chance to refinance to a lower rate down the road,” Hinduja added.
Yet high mortgage rates, due partly to the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes meant to curb inflation, deter older buyers far less than they do younger buyers.
Around 35 percent of baby boomers polled by Credit Karma said high mortgage rates would not impact their decision to sell.
And among all generations whose decision would not be affected by mortgage rates, 46 percent said that would be the case because they would not need a mortgage on their new home.
Average 30-year fixed mortgage rates continue to climb after the Fed paused its series of rate hikes last month to evaluate the impact of previous increases — reaching their highest level since November.
Freddie Mac data shows the benchmark rate hit 6.96 percent this week, and economists say despite recent data showing cooling inflation, there are still adverse conditions impacting the market.
“Incoming data suggest that inflation is softening, falling to its lowest annual rate in more than two years,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, in a statement.
“However, increases in housing costs, which account for a large share of inflation, remain stubbornly high, mainly due to low inventory relative to demand,” he concluded.
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