Throughout the past several years, the U.S. has been languishing in a state of historically low interest rates – and, while these miniscule rates have not been good for many income producing investments like bonds and CDs, they have in many ways been a blessing to those who have taken on home mortgages.
This past week, the Federal Reserve increased rates by .25 percent. And, while this may not seem significant, when our economy has been hovering in the neighborhood of 0 percent for roughly the past eight years, even the slightest increase can be substantial enough to scare off at least some buyers.
The good news is that, even with the increase in interest rates, we are still in an extremely low rate environment overall – especially as compared to mid-2000 when the 30-year mortgage rate was just under 9 percent, and the mid-1990s, when it was approaching 10 percent.
So, what should we anticipate going forward? There are some are predictions that the average home mortgage rate will remain in the vicinity of 4.5 percent throughout most of 2017, and then it will increase to closer to 5 near the end of the year. But this will remain to be seen.
Is this enough to scare off potential home buyers? Possibly. But even so, on a home loan of $250,000, the difference in monthly payment between a rate of 4.5 and 5 percent will still be under $140. In any case, if your plan is to “wait out” the market and hope for something better in the future, you could miss out on potential opportunities, wishing you would have moved forward when you had the chance.