Home Hunters Still Have A Chance For Affordable Mortgages

With mortgage rates bouncing up and down like a ping-pong ball, Chicago’s beleaguered house hunters still have a slim chance to lock in an affordable home loan during this crazy summer market, experts say.


A hefty 0.75% interest-rate hike by the Federal Reserve Board on July 27 pushed the benchmark target rate to a range of 2.25% to 2.5%—its highest level since 2018.


However, after the Fed rate hike, mortgage rates surprisingly declined nationwide. On July 28, Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey reported that average 30-year fixed home loans fell to 5.30% from 5.54% a week earlier.



At the beginning of July, the 30-year rate floated as high as 5.7%, and experts forecasted that 6%-plus rates were on the horizon. A year ago the fixed loan averaged 2.80%.


On July 28, rates on 15-year fixed loans averaged 4.58%, down from last week when it averaged 4.75%. A year ago, the 15-year fixed loan averaged 2.10%.


The Freddie Mac survey focuses on conventional, conforming, fully amortizing home purchase loans for borrowers who put 20% down and have excellent credit.


On July 28, the 10-year Treasury rate—the gauge economists use to forecast 30-year-fixed mortgage interest charges—declined slightly to 2.74% from 2.79%. That action likely caused home-loan rates to inch lower.


The Fed now is tightening credit even while the economy has begun to slow. Economists say that risky action could cause a recession this year or next.


The Fed’s move follows a whopping 9.1% jump in inflation in June—the fastest annual rate in 41 years. By increasing borrowing charges, the Fed makes it more costly to take out a mortgage, auto or business loan.


The Fed’s game plan is to force Americans to borrow and spend less, there by slowing inflation and cooling the economy. And, the plan appears to be working.


New-home sales nationwide dropped 8.1% in June, compared with May, reported the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. However, the median price of a new home sold in June skyrocketed to $402,400, compared with $374,700 median price in June of 2021.


“Purchase demand continues to tumble as the cumulative impact of higher rates, elevated home prices, increased recession risk, and declining consumer confidence are taking a toll on home buyers,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.


“It’s clear that over the past two years, the combination of the pandemic, record low mortgage rates, and the opportunity to work remotely spurred greater demand,” Khater said. “Now, as the market adjusts to a higher rate environment, we are seeing a period of deflated sales activity until the market normalizes.”


Experts say the July 28 mortgage rate drop likely is going to be short-lived, so it represents a narrow window for would-be home buyers who move quickly to lock in a mortgage in the low-5% range.

Another worry for summer home shoppers in Chicago is rising asking prices sparked by a shortage of resale home listings. That is creating multiple-bid scenarios which could drive offers even higher.


Affordable loans available


Chicago-area borrowers who move quickly still have a faint chance to lock in the following bargain rates as of July 28, reports RateSeeker.com.


  • First Savings Bank of Hegewisch was quoting 4.853% on 30-year loans and 4.2% on 15-year mortgages with 20% down payment and a $615 loan fee.

  • Mutual of Omaha was quoting 4.933% on 30-year loans with a 20% down payment and 4.625% on 15-year mortgages with a 5% down payment and a $850 loan fee.


For more housing news, visit www.dondebat.biz. Don DeBat is co-author of “Escaping Condo Jail,” the ultimate survival guide for condominium living. Visit www.escapingcondojail.com.

“The book is Escaping Condo Jail by Sara Benson and Don DeBat. I would say that anybody thinking about buying a condo, or even anybody serving on a condo board, or anybody who has any connection to a condo, this is must reading—all 600 and something pages. Thanks a lot for a great book!”

 

Steve Sanders, “Your Money Matters” WGN TV, December 22, 2014

By Don DeBat

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