Mortgage rates are on the rise. And although this means higher monthly payments for buyers, it brings some positive benefits to the housing market as well.
No one disputes the downside of rising mortgage interest rates. At the start of the year, rates were roughly 3% for a conventional, 30-year, fixed rate mortgage. Recently, though, rates have escalated to surpass 5%. This means a $700,000 home purchase (with a 20% down payment) could cost a buyer $700 more per month in mortgage payments than it would have in January.
But “while higher rates will certainly put a new crimp in housing affordability,” notes Money Magazine, “they could be a silver lining for the housing market in general. That’s because the abrupt increase in rates is arriving amid a highly competitive market with very low inventory and record high home prices.”
This sparks several welcome changes:
Money reports that the average mortgage payment on a “typical home is currently at an all-time high of $2,123.” This means some buyers will need to take a time out and regroup or drop out of the market indefinitely. As a result, those still in the market face less competition, which means fewer bidding wars and more breathing room to look at the options available
In turn, this shift in demand is likely to calm the accelerated price growth we’ve seen in the past several years, creating a more sustainable appreciation trajectory.
Appreciation remains strong nonetheless, and buying a home is still one of the best ways to build wealth over time.
In fact, The Motley Fool notes that, “according to U.S. census data, home equity and retirement accounts combined made up more than 60% of a typical household’s wealth. And those who owned rather than rented had a median net worth more than 80 times greater than the median for renters.”