Mortgage rates continue to trend down, but affordability remains a pipe dream: Freddie Mac

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Rates for 30-year mortgages dropped again, but homes remain unaffordable in most areas.  (iStock)

Mortgage rates dropped to 6.63% this week, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Rates for 30-years fixed-rate mortgages were 6.69% last week, dropping by 0.06 percentage points.

Rates for 15-year mortgages also dropped slightly from 5.96% last week to 5.94% this week. Both 15-year mortgages and 30-year mortgage rates are still higher than they were last year.

A year ago, 30-year mortgages sat at 6.09%, on average, while 15-year mortgages averaged 5.14%, Freddie Mac reported.

“Mortgage rates have been stable for nearly two months, but with continued deceleration in inflation we expect rates to decline further,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater explained.

“The economy continues to outperform due to solid job and income growth, while household formation is increasing at rates above pre-pandemic levels. These favorable factors should provide strong fundamental support to the market in the months ahead.”

As mortgage rates drop, you may decide it’s the right time to finally buy a home. To find the right mortgage for your needs, Credible can show you multiple mortgage lenders all in one place and provide you with personalized rates within minutes.

HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE RATES ON THE RISE, MAINLY DUE TO INCREASE IN NATURAL DISASTERS

Home prices are lowering in some major cities

After remaining for high most of the year, home prices are dropping slightly in some metro areas. 

Data from a recent S&P report showed prices in 12 out of 20 metro areas decreasing. This decrease in prices has led some households to move across state lines in search of more affordable areas.

Charlotte, Providence and Indianapolis saw the largest increase in buyers as they fled high-cost cities, stated a Zillow report.

Households that made these moves found homes were $7,500 less, on average, than where they left.

Cities that saw the highest outflow in households included Chicago, San Diego and Cincinnati. These metro areas often have higher housing costs and less robust economies, Zillow found.

If you think you’re ready to shop around for a home loan, consider using Credible to help you easily compare interest rates from multiple lenders, all without affecting your credit score.

HOMEOWNERS MOVING ACROSS STATE LINES, SEEKING AFFORDABILITY, FIND IT IN CERTAIN CITIES

It’ll be years before homes are affordable for the average buyer

The housing market is trudging toward recovery, largely thanks to mortgage interest rates dropping in recent months.

“The surge in pending home sales and new home sales, both determined by contract signings in the early stages of the buying process, indicates increased participation from buyers in the market,” explained Realtor.com Economist Jiayi Xu in response to Freddie Mac’s recent mortgage rates update. “Simultaneously, the recent rise in listing activity suggests that sellers are closely monitoring mortgage rates and adjusting their selling strategies accordingly.”

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Potential homebuyers won’t see a full recovery anytime soon, however. JP Morgan experts predict that the real estate market will become affordable again about three and a half years from now. This is largely dependent on continued interest rate decreases.

“Despite the promising increase in listing activity, inventory is likely to remain low as sellers may not respond as swiftly as anticipated. In other words, a more substantial improvement in mortgage rates is necessary to attract more sellers to the market,” Xu said.

Until rates drop more substantially, mortgage payments are likely to stay high. In November 2023, the average monthly mortgage payment was $2,198, up from $1,993 a year earlier, a National Association of Realtors report found.

If buying a home is your near future, make sure you’re getting the best mortgage lender and rates with the help of Credible. Credible helps you compare rates and lenders and get a mortgage pre-approval letter in minutes.

JUST OVER 15% OF HOME LISTINGS WERE CONSIDERED AFFORDABLE IN 2023: REDFIN

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