One of the most common questions we hear from clients is “where do you think interest rates are going?”
Virtually all of the experts we follow put rates above 5% going into next year and some see rates approaching 5.5% by the middle of 2019. What’s certain is that there are economic forces at work that are pushing rates higher.
So, how about a little history lesson? How do today’s 30-year mortgage rates compare to this same date in history going all the way back to 1990?
Today = 4.85%
2017 = 3.94%
2015 = 3.82%
2010 = 4.27%
2005 = 5.98%
2000 = 7.84%
1995 = 7.75%
1990 = 10.22%
While today’s rates feel high only because they are higher than 2017, they are quite a bit lower than at many times in history.
It seems like everyone’s talking about affordability and making an assumption that homes are less affordable than they have ever been. Not so fast…
Let’s look at home prices relative to the median income needed to purchase the home.
It’s true that home prices have appreciated year-over-year for the last 76 months in a row, largely driven by high demand and low supply.
According to a recent study by Zillow, the percentage of median income necessary to buy a home in today’s market (17.1%) is well below the mark reached in 1985 – 2000 (21%), as well as the mark reached in 2006 (25.4)!
Bottom line, interest rates would have to increase to 6% before buying a home would be less affordable than historical norms.
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We talk about it all the time, as Buyers we worry about it and as Sellers (who need to buy) we worry about it. But what do the numbers really look like?
Well, over the last 3 years in Fort Collins we have ranged between 1.11 months and 2.17 months of inventory over all of the price ranges. The National Association of REALTORS data suggests that a balanced market is when there is 6 months of inventory, so we have been in a “buyer’s market” for a while. Right now, we have the lowest level of inventory available in that 3 year span at 1.07 months of inventory in Fort Collins.
While that can sound daunting to a buyer, remember that the interest rates have already started to increase, so with that will come higher payments for the same loan amount. Combine that with the appreciation that is sure to continue to come due to the low inventory, you will ABSOLUTELY be paying more on a monthly basis for the same home 6 months or a year from now. It puts the search in perspective, and makes the competitive market worth while for you to buy now based on the numbers.
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Now that we have finished with the election turmoil, we’ll start to see what the results will mean for the housing market. If you’d like to see Windermere’s Economists point of view on the matter, check out this link.
We are still seeing signs of low inventory and a quick moving market, and even some antidotal evidence that the $500,000 to $750,000 segment of the market is starting to see more showings and activity than we saw in August through October. The average price in Fort Collins year to date is up 10.4% to $395,913, almost $400,000 average price. We are also at 1.8 months of supply (remember the National Association of REALTORS says a balanced market is 6 months), and that is a 28% drop since last year at this same time. This means we have even LESS homes to satisfy the market.
While interest rates have started to climb a little since the election, we are still historically low for interest rates so if you need or want to buy then now is a great time! And as a seller, as we’ve seen with the data I’ve presented above, if you want to sell your home give me a call and we can talk about how the Windermere Certified Listing program can help get your home sold quickly!