The housing market is picking up slightly amid falling mortgage rates

by Ana Lopez

In November, mortgage rates hit a 20-year high of 7.08%, pricing out millions of potential buyers and bringing the housing market to a standstill. With rates falling steadily, buyers are returning.

The average 30-year mortgage rate is 6.51%, still about 3% above the average from a year ago, but the decline has nonetheless led to a 25% increase in mortgage applications since the end of 2022, The Wall Street Journal reported. The slight increase in signups could mean that interested buyers have accepted the current reality of high rates and are diving in to take advantage of falling prices.

“They’re less focused on the specific rate than they are on identifying a window where they’re comfortable with their monthly expenses,” Steven Centrella, a Redfin broker in the Washington, DC area, told me.

Related: Mortgage rates fall to lowest level since September, mortgage demand rises

According to Redfin datathe number of people contacting brokers with plans to buy has risen again this week after the lows in November.

However, despite the slight increase in the number of buyers, the market is still lower than the figures of a year ago. Existing home sales fell 1.5% in December 2022, the 11th consecutive month of decline, according to The National Association of Real Estate Agents. Figures for January 2023 will be released later this month.

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