Will Increasing Mortgage Rates Impact Home Prices?
There are some who are calling for a decrease in home prices should mortgage interest rates begin to rise rapidly. Intuitively, this makes sense as the cost of a home is determined by the price of the home, plus the cost of financing that home. If mortgage interest rates increase, fewer people will be able to buy, and logic says prices will fall if demand decreases.
However, history shows us that this has not been the case the last four times mortgage interest rates dramatically increased.
Here is a graph showing what actually happened:
Last week, in an article titled “Higher Rates Don’t Mean Lower House Prices After All,” the Wall Street Journal revealed that a recent study by John Burns Real Estate Consulting Inc. found that:
“[P]rices weren’t especially sensitive to rising rates, particularly in the presence of other positive economic factors, such as strong job growth, rising wages and improving consumer confidence.”
Last week’s jobs report was strong and the Conference Board just reported that the Consumer Confidence Index was back to pre-recession levels.
We will have to wait and see what happens as we move forward, but a decrease in home prices should rates go up is anything but guaranteed.
Whenever there is talk about an improving housing market, some begin to show concern that we may be headed toward another housing bubble that will be followed by a crash similar to the one we saw last decade.
Here are five data points that show the housing market will continue to recover, and that a new housing crisis is not about to take shape.
1) Mortgage availability is increasing, but is nowhere near the levels we saw in 2004-2006.
A buyer’s chances of being approved for a mortgage have increased over the last three years; That’s good news for the market. This is not a precursor to another challenge, as many experts maintain that it is still too difficult for many buyers to attain house financing.
As Jonathan Smoke, the Chief Economist of realtor.com, recently explained:
“The havoc during the last cycle was the result…of speculation fueled by loose credit. That’s the exact opposite of what we have today.”
2) The Housing Affordability Index, which measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home, based on the most recent price and income data. The current index shows that it is more affordable to buy a home today than at any other time between 1990 and 2008. With median incomes finally beginning to rise, houses should continue to remain affordable and housing demand should remain strong.
3) Home prices are well within historic norms. Prices have increased substantially over the last several years; However, those increases followed the housing crash of 2008 and national prices are still not back to 2006 levels. If there were no bubble (and subsequent bust), today’s prices would actually be lower than if they were measured by historic appreciation levels from 1987-1999.
4) Demand for housing, as measured by new household formations, is growing. The Urban Land Institute projects that 5.95 million new households will be formed over the next three years. Even if the homeownership rate drops to 60%, that would be over 3.5 million new homeowners entering the market.
5) New home starts are finally beginning to increase. This helps eliminate the number one challenge in the industry – lack of inventory. And it does so in two ways:
- Some first time buyers will, in fact, purchase a newly constructed home.
- Many current homeowners will move-up (or move-down) to a new construction and then put their current home on the market.
This means that there will be an increase in both new construction and existing home inventories.
Today, many real estate conversations center on housing prices and where they may be headed. That is why we like the Home Price Expectation Survey.
Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment & market strategists about where they believe prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.
The results of their latest survey:
Home values will appreciate by 4.5% over the course of 2016, 3.6% in 2017 and about 3.2% in the next two years, and finally 2.9% in 2020 (as shown below). That means the average annual appreciation will be 3.5% over the next 5 years.
The prediction for cumulative appreciation increased slightly from 24.7% to 26.3% by 2020. The experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey are still projecting a cumulative appreciation of 11.1%.
Individual opinions make headlines. We believe the survey is a fairer depiction of future values.