Forecasting Mortgage Rates: Buy, Sell, or Refi?

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Forecasting Mortgage Rates: Buy, Sell, or Refi?

You probably keep track of the direction mortgage rates are going if you’re like the majority of individuals who are paying off a mortgage or trying to purchase or sell a property. The cost of long-term house ownership and your monthly mortgage payments are strongly impacted by mortgage interest rates. When choosing to purchase, sell, or refinance in the event that rates remain the same, increase, or decline, take into account the following tactics.

Key Takeaways

  • Numerous variables, including inflation, geopolitical developments, and unemployment rates, may affect mortgage interest rates.
  • To combat growing inflation, the Federal Reserve may increase the federal funds rate, which may have an indirect effect on mortgage interest rates.
  • Home purchases become more costly when loan rates rise; they become more affordable when rates fall.
  • You may use an online mortgage calculator to see if it makes sense to purchase, sell, or refinance given the present interest rate situation.

When Mortgage Interest Rates Hold Steady

Since much of the previous ten years have seen historically low mortgage interest rates, you may be in an excellent position to buy or sell a property. With the same monthly payment you would make with a higher interest rate, you may purchase more real estate with low interest rates.

The majority of analysts anticipate that interest rates will continue to climb despite the fact that they have been historically low. The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was lowest in December 2020, at 2.68%. Through 2021, rates remained low with a few slight swings, but in early 2022, they began to climb. The average rate in April 2022 was 4.98%, which was the highest rate since 2008.

Rates were increased by the Federal Reserve on March 17, 2022, and another increase is anticipated if the labor market stays robust. Despite not directly setting mortgage rates, the Fed does control the federal funds rate. The rate at which banks lend money to one another is shown here. Bond yields, which in turn impact mortgage rates, may alter in response to changes in the federal funds rate.

How Rates Impact Your Buying Power

Your monthly payment would be $1,216.04 if you were to put 20% down on a $300,000 house and borrow the remaining amount with a 30-year fixed-rate loan at 4.5%. Your payments would increase by more than $200 a month to $1,438.92 if you were to finance the identical house at 6%. Simply because rates have increased, you will need to lower your home-buying budget if you can’t afford the additional $200.

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A mortgage calculator is a useful tool for comparing these expenses.

If Mortgage Rates Drop

Mortgage rates have started climbing after years of unprecedented lows. Theoretically, they may decline once again in the future. The aforementioned is still true if they do.

If you have an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) and interest rates decrease or stay the same, you may want to think about refinancing with a fixed-rate loan to eliminate the stress of worrying about interest rates increasing in the future. ARM interest rates, commonly known as variable-rate mortgages, are initially cheaper than fixed-rate loans for a certain duration, such as five years. Following the conclusion of the introduction term, rates increase in line with market indices until they finally exceed the rate for fixed-rate loans.


Your monthly mortgage payment may significantly rise if an ARM’s interest rate is increased.

It can be worthwhile to consider refinancing your fixed-rate loan into a shorter-term loan if interest rates drop while you have it. For instance, it would make sense to refinance the remaining 20 years of a 30-year mortgage into a new 15-year loan if you have 20 years left on the original loan. 15-year mortgage rates are also less expensive than 30-year mortgage rates. You might reduce the amount of interest paid and accelerate the repayment of your mortgage if you combine it with a rate reduction.

Always take into account your particular set of circumstances while refinancing. Include closing fees and the time it will take for the cost advantages to become apparent. For instance, how long do you want to stay in your house before selling it? Will you achieve a profit before deciding to sell? In general, lower rates may have a greater influence on your monthly payments the higher the outstanding mortgage. You could think about whether a fixed- or variable-rate mortgage is a better choice.

Additionally, because rates are lower, you may purchase or sell a property at a better time since you can afford more of a home and more people can buy it.

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When refinancing, keep in mind whether you’ll still be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) on the loan and how much your monthly payment may decrease if you don’t.

Rising Mortgage Rates

If you have a low-interest fixed-rate mortgage and are not planning to sell or purchase during a rate increase, you can contentedly stick with your current course of action and sleep well at night. However, bear in mind the long-term perspective that, historically, property prices have kept up with inflation if you need a bigger home or have to move. Your mortgage payments on a fixed-rate loan also stay the same if inflation increases.

Remember that median house prices have increased during the recession as well. Your equity has increased if the value of your house has increased. Equity is the value of your house less the remaining loan debt. You may want to reevaluate whether it makes sense to refinance your mortgage now given the growing interest rate environment.

If the value of your $300,000 property increases by 10%, you will get $30,000 extra when you sell it. This may assist you in making a bigger down payment when you purchase your next home and decrease your monthly payment to help offset increased interest rates.

A rising interest rate environment isn’t the best for buying and selling, but if it comes with greater equity, that additional cash may help offset the impact of higher interest rates.

Will mortgage interest rates go up in 2022?

Rates were increased by the Federal Reserve on March 17, 2022, and another increase is anticipated if the labor market stays robust. 2023 may also see a continuation of this pattern. Although it’s uncertain just how much mortgage rates will rise, they are already climbing in tandem with base interest rate rises.

Should I lock my rate now or wait?

If interest rates increase before you close on the property, locking your rate may assist you lock in a lower mortgage rate. Whether it makes sense to lock your rate is a personal choice, and you may want to discuss the benefits and drawbacks with your mortgage expert. Think about if your lender will charge you a fee to lock in your rate or whether you may buy points to lower the rate.

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Is now a good time to refinance?

It is often ideal to refinance a mortgage loan when you can do so at a cheaper interest rate and/or with better lending conditions. Your reasons for wanting to refinance your mortgage and the amount you may be able to cut your rate or monthly payment by will determine if it makes sense for you to do so.

How do I shop for mortgage rates?

Choosing the home loan that will meet your requirements the best is the first step in comparing mortgage rates. Rates for conventional loans, FHA loans, USDA loans, VA loans, and loans from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) might differ, and one form of loan could be a better match than another. Once you’ve decided on a mortgage choice, you can next search online to compare mortgage rates from several lenders to find who offers the best deals. Find out why locking in a decent rate is vital.

The Bottom Line

Since the Federal Reserve has been frequently boosting its benchmark rate and is anticipated to continue doing so, the general view is that interest rates will continue to climb in 2022 and beyond. Thus, prospective homeowners need to think about taking immediate action. Naturally, there is always the possibility that rates may decrease in the future. If so, purchasers need to be ready to profit from any declines.

Homeowners with older mortgages who haven’t refinanced yet should think about whether it makes sense to do so in order to achieve lower monthly payments while rates are still quite low. Additionally, homeowners with ARMs should stop debating switching to a fixed-rate loan immediately. Closing expenses and your own time frame (how long you want to remain in your existing property) should always be taken into account.

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