National Housing Market Outlook

It’s About Payment, Not Price!

July 28, 2011
For those consumers who are waiting to buy a home, are you aware that you could be “priced out” of the market by rising mortgage rates and tighter underwriting, even if home prices fall? Do you still want to wait?
Potential home buyers are focused on the wrong metric. They are overly focused on home price because of the tremendous correction that has occurred and the focus on home prices in the media. The media is also overly focused on price because they tend to live in the expensive markets like New York and Washington D.C. What consumers and the media are ignoring is the monthly payment, which is absolutely fantastic right now and highly unlikely to get much better. Everyone is just assuming that mortgages rates will stay low forever.
Did you know that if prices fall another 10%, but mortgage rates rise 1 percentage point, fewer people will be able to qualify to buy a house? Add to the equation the discussion in D.C. about reducing the allowable Debt/Income ratios on mortgages, and even more people will be unlikely to qualify.
If prices stayed flat and mortgage rates inched up 1 percentage point from 4.5% to 5.5%, the same house would cost you 12% more per month to buy. A movement from 4.5% to 6.5% would increase your mortgage payment by 25%. Needless to say, the impact of mortgage rates is tremendous.
Nobody knows where mortgage rates will be several years from now, but let me share with you a 40 year history of mortgage rates. Perhaps this will help you realize just how favorable mortgage rates are right now.

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