Experts are predicting mortgage rates to will finally begin to pick themselves up later this year, and when they do, it’s likely that the higher rates will affect move-up home buyers and curb refinancings.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported last week that it’s expecting 30-year fixed rates to rise to an average 4.1% later this year, and then further still to 4.5% by 2014, compared to the 3.7% average we’re at now. Due to this, the dollar value of home refinancings is expected to drop to $818 billion in 2013, and then $350 billion the year after, down from a high of around $12 trillion last year.
These are big changes, but they will be unlikely to impact much on home sales our new housing starts over the next year, reports Investor.com.
"Interest rates are so low right now that a modest increase wouldn't have much effect on sales," said the NAR’s Walter Molony.
No reason for concern
The main concerns for economists, should rates go up as expected, are that those homeowners who did refinance over the last couple of years are unlikely to want to move-up and buy themselves a bigger home, simply because they won’t want to risk paying higher rates again.
However, Investor.com says that this is unlikely to have a major impact on housing, with the biggest concern being a loosening of credit standards instead. Molony points out that many people want to buy but simply cannot qualify for a mortgage right now – should banks return to ‘normal’ standards, we could see sales boosted by as much as 10% to 15%.
Overall, the MBA’s forecast for the year ahead is optimistic at best, with housing starts expected to increase by 18% in 2013 compared to the year before (909,00 new starts), while new home sales should rise by 12% (407,000 sales). Existing homes meanwhile, can expect to see a 3.7% leap in sales, with median prices rising by 4.9% across the nation.