Fewer people are shopping for homes, a sign that homebuyers are getting priced out of the market due to surging mortgage rates, which spiked to an average of 5% this week for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages.
The fixed-rate mortgage rate jumped 0.28% in the last week alone, reaching a high not seen since February 2011, according to government-mortgage company Freddie Mac. A year ago, the 30-year rate averaged 3.04%, which is nearly 2% lower than the rate now.
That 2% difference can add hundreds of dollars to the monthly cost of financing a home, making it unaffordable for some potential buyers.
For a home worth $408,100 — the median home price in the U.S. — with a 20% down payment, 30-year fixed mortgage and a 5% interest rate, monthly mortgage costs would come to $1,752.62, according to CNBC calculations.
But for the same home purchased last year, when interest rates were 3.04%, monthly mortgage payments would only come to $1,383.51, according to CNBC calculations. That’s nearly $400 less per month, and more than $4,400 less per year.
While home prices remain elevated, there are some indications that increased mortgage rates are starting to level out the white-hot housing market.
Mortgage purchase applications were down 6% from a year earlier, for the four-week period ending April 10, according to a recent Redfin study.
Redfin’s Homebuyer Demand Index, which measures home tour requests for properties listed for sale, has also declined 3% in the past four weeks, compared to a 5% increase during the same period last year. This suggests that there are fewer buyers in the market, which could lead to an easing of home price increases if the trend continues.
“There really is a limit to homebuyer demand, even though the market over the past few years has made it seem endless,” says Redfin’s chief economist Daryl Fairweather. She expects that price growth will continue to level out in 2022.