Monday, July 29, 2013

How Loan Rates Affect the Housing Market

Interest rates vary for a number of reasons. However, what affects them the most are changes in the decisions of the Federal Reserve, the current state of the economy, and the rate at which people are either borrowing or saving.

A huge percentage of home sales are normally financed. People buying homes usually apply for mortgages, which is actually just the act of borrowing money. Therefore, when the reasons mentioned above undergo changes, it is typical to expect that the housing market will be affected.

Interest rates refer to a percentage of the total money borrowed which is charged to the borrower by the lender for its use. Of course, the higher the interest rate, the larger the amount of money the borrower is expected to pay. The reason the housing market is affected by the change in the Federal Reserve’s decisions is because the Federal Reserve, just like lenders, sets an interest rate at which it lends money to financial institutions including banks. In turn, this interest rate that is charged to the banks and other financial institutions will affect the rate at which they lend money to businesses and potential home buyers who want to apply for a mortgage. Any increase in the rate of the Federal Reserve is proportional to the rate of the banks and other financial institutions.

For that reason, when the interest rate of loans and mortgages is lower, people are more encouraged to borrow as they know that in doing so, their loan will be cheaper and will cost them less. On the other hand, when the interest rate is high, borrowing money slows and the number of people applying for loans and mortgages are fewer. So, the lower the interest rate, the more sales there are in the housing market.

When mortgage rates are lower, there is no doubt that homes become more affordable. More people want to apply for a mortgage and purchase a home, which definitely helps boost the sales in the real estate market. Even those homeowners who are looking for opportunities to refinance take advantage of the times when rates are low. When refinancing, a homeowner can trade their current home loan for a new one, which can be more affordable for them. In addition, low rates also help development and construction companies. Since more people want to purchase homes, there is an increase in demand for houses. Therefore, not only do development and construction companies gain business but they also get to finance their construction at lower costs since they can borrow money with low rates.
Interest Rates
Interest Rates (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)
One important thing to keep in mind, though, is that even if loan rates are affecting the housing market’s mortgage prices, sometimes they aren’t in direct correlation. As mentioned earlier, low rates often result in more demand for houses, which home sellers sometimes take as an opportunity to increase the price of their house. However, if the prices get too high, buyers back off, which may result in a decline in demand, which could hurt the housing market.

If you are a home owner, you should know that adjustable rate mortgages are affected also by the Federal Reserve, the economy, and the rate at which people borrow or save. You are lucky if you have a mortgage which is locked in for a certain period of time; however, if you are tied in to an adjustable rate mortgage, then you should expect that the interest rate might vary at any time. It could change every year or as often as every month, depending on the state of the market and the three factors mentioned earlier. When the recession hit back in 2008, there were a number of homeowners who had to face foreclosure because they weren’t able to make their mortgage payments. Their mortgage rates increased to an amount which they weren’t able to afford any longer.

So, if you are currently locked into an adjustable rate mortgage, make sure to prepare for the possible increase or decrease. Monitor your credit reports and adjust your finances accordingly. Make sure to put away a little more money for your monthly mortgage payment than you usually pay. This way, you know that you have the money to make your mortgage payments, despite a change in the interest rates.

Author Bio:

Joy Mali is an active finance blogger who is fond of sharing interesting finance management tips to encourage people to manage their personal finances. More specifically, she advocates that people should check credit reports and scores regularly.

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