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Mortgage rates hit 7 percent as Federal Reserve moves slow economy

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Mortgage rates top 7% this week, the highest in 20 years And the latest signs that the Federal Reserve’s aggressive move to slow the broader economy is already hitting the housing market hard.

Data released by Freddie Mac on Thursday showed the average interest rate for the most popular mortgage product, the 30-year fixed mortgage, reached 7.08%.The last time mortgage rates rose this high was in April 2002, when the Fed Move quickly to tame the red-hot housing market, It’s an important step to bring down rents and ultimately reduce inflation across the economy.

Rather than setting the cost of mortgages directly, the central bank Its policy rate, known as the Federal Funds Rate, ripples through the economy and affects lending of all kinds. Since March, the Fed has hiked his rates five times, raising the benchmark rate from near zero to 3% to his 3.25%. The central bank is expected to raise rates by another 0.75 percentage points next week.

Calculate how much your mortgage costs will increase if interest rates rise

These moves have already had a major impact on the housing market, with soaring mortgage rates causing Broader concerns that the Federal Reserve is putting the brakes on the economy too much power.

“People can say, ‘Yeah, one percent. [added] Mortgage interest rates are still low. But mortgage rates have risen by a few percentage points in a short period of time,” said Diane Wonk, KPMG’s chief economist. “The rapid pace of rate hikes is itself destabilizing,” he said.

Post-reporters Damian Paletta and Rachel Segal explain how the economic downturn begins. (Video: Hope Davison, Drea Cornejo/Washington Post, Photo: Michael S. Williamson/Washington Post)

Average home loan interest rates are on the rise. A year ago it was 3.09%. Even in March, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was below 4%. Rise to 7.08% from 3.22% in January This is a 3.86 percentage point jump, the steepest increase in a year. The previous record was his 3.59 points in 1981.

Prices rose again in September, ensuring further rate hikes

For much of the pandemic, low interest rates meant that aspiring homebuyers flooded the market, competing for the few homes available, sending prices skyrocketing. But now, fearful of paying hundreds of dollars extra each month on mortgages, buyers are pulling back, increasing the supply of available homes and helping drive prices down across the board. %, a family with a median household income of $71,000 could afford a $448,700 home with a 20% down payment. He said he could only buy a house for $339,200 this week with interest rates around 7%. Realtor.com.

Home prices are falling at a record pace. Prices in August were 13% higher than he was a year ago, down from 15.6% the previous month, according to the Case-Shiller Home Price Index released this week. His 2.6-point gap over the past two months is the biggest drop in the index’s history since it was introduced in 1987.

Zillow announced Wednesday that it has laid off 300 employees across several divisions, including mortgage and closing services. Said We are not on a hiring freeze.

Demand for mortgages plummeted just as quickly as interest rates surged. Total subscriptions are at his lowest since 1997, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Refinancing is down 86% from a year ago. mortgage lender Financial institutions across the country, including major banks, are laying off employees as the market slows. Rising interest rates have also increased interest in variable rate mortgages. ARM share of applications was 12.7%.

Home builders are also in trouble. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau reported earlier this month that housing starts fell 8.1% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.44 million. So far this year Single-family home starts are down 5.6% compared to this time last year.

Builder confidence also fell for the 10th straight month in October and fell to its lowest level since 2012, with the exception of two months in spring 2020. when the pandemic started. Half of what it was half a year ago.

“This will be the first year since 2011 that single-family housing starts will fall,” said Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders. “And given expectations of continued rate hikes from Federal Reserve action, single-family buildings are projected to decline even further in 2023 as housing shrinks continue.”

Still, the Fed’s tools are limited, and officials regularly point to the housing market as one of the clearest signs that rate hikes are having the intended effect.

Fed President Christopher Waller said, “We are starting to see excess demand in interest rate sensitive sectors such as housing being adjusted.” speech this month. “But much more needs to be done to bring inflation down meaningfully and sustainably.”

when Alternatively, it’s not yet clear how the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes will overtake inflation elsewhere in the economy. Rate hikes are designed to eliminate demand, but they don’t solve supply-side problems such as oil and gas shortages, affordable apartments, and chips in new cars. Overall, consumer prices remain stubbornly high, rising September is 8.2% compared to the previous year.

Rents have also increased by 7.2% over the past year, It increased by 0.8% from August to September. Goldman Sachs predicts that overall Shelter inflation will peak next spring at 7.5%, before slowing to just under 6% by the end of 2023. This has significant implications for Fed policy as housing costs are a large part of the commodity basket. Used to measure inflation in an economy.

As the Federal Reserve battles inflation, fears grow that it is being overcorrected

But a slowing housing market may ultimately be driving down rental prices as well. Nationwide, rent growth has fallen to its lowest annual pace (7.8%) since June 2021, according to the WHO. Realtor.comMedian US rents fell for the second month-on-month in September for the first time in eight months.

Rising mortgage rates are slowing markets even where they were overheating during the pandemic. From 2020 to 2021, Hudson Valley sales prices have exploded. Because we cried out for the few houses available for transplants from New York City and elsewhere. But now, with mortgage rates soaring, the number of available homes has more than doubled in the past three months, jumping from about 150 to about 380, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Nut said. Ryan Basten, Associate Broker at Shell Realty said.

This is an encouraging sign that the market is returning to normal. But Basten said there are many uncertainties about the future. He reflected on the recent surge in mortgage rates. Percent was “doable”. But with the Fed poised to raise rates two more times by the end of the year, Basten said he and others in the industry “think the market might really go down.”

“The only thing we can deal with is what we are working on right now. [percent]If so, it will feel like a recession,” said Basten.”8 [percent] I feel sick. 10% is like, “Wow, where are we going from here?” ”

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