In early September, interest rates for U.S. home loans dropped to their lowest levels in over a year, according to Freddie Mac. Despite these rate decreases, less homebuyers got off the fence and into new homes. This carried over to the decrease in loan applications, which were down 12 percent on the year ending in August.
The coming months are especially crucial for home loan rates, as the Federal Reserve completes its “tapering” of Bond purchases, and particularly Mortgage Backed Securities. The program was credited with boosting the housing industry since its inception in late 2012. And since home loan rates are tied to Mortgage Bonds, any significant Bond market activity impacts financing for housing.
According to the August National Housing Survey conducted by Fannie Mae, prospective homebuyers may be hesitant to commit to mortgages due to job instability and lack of income growth, in addition to tighter credit standards. These are the primary short-term concerns for housing ahead of interest rate fluctuations.
Fall Season, Falling Prices?
A September report from Redfin forecasted that the fall season could see a small rebound in U.S. home sales, as well as lower prices.
According to the report, “The number of homes that sold above list price in July was down nearly 26 percent from a year ago.” Indeed, at the end of August the S&P/Case-Shiller Index of property values showed its smallest 12-month gain since January 2013. Lower prices, still-low home loan rates and more supply could push sales higher.
“While home prices have clearly moderated nationwide since the spring, the geographic drivers of price increases are shifting,” said Sam Khater, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic. Warmer climates in the west and southwest will continue to attract homebuyer interest well into autumn, added to consistently hot markets in the northeast.
The Bottom Line
Home loan rates remain near their lowest levels in months. If you would like to inquire about housing and home loan eligibility, please contact me.
This article was taken from my October 2014 issue of YOU Magazine. Click here to view the full newsletter.