The housing market over the last few years can largely be described as a fiercely competitive environment that was fueled by historically low interest rates and little available inventory across much of the metro and state.
However, the second half of 2022 marked a shift in buying activity as the Federal Reserve began to raise interest rates in an attempt to put pressure on the overheated economy. As a result, mortgage rates increased, and many potential homebuyers put a pause on their home searches.
Recently, mortgage applications fell to the lowest level since 1995. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, applications for home loans fell 4% from the previous week and 41% from the same time last year. Additionally, refinancing activity was down 72% from last year.
This comes after the federal reserve announced additional rate hikes in early February. Consequently, mortgage rates jumped over 20 points in one week.
“This time of the year is typically when purchase activity ramps up, but over the past two weeks, rates have increased significantly as financial markets digest data on inflation cooling at a slower pace than expected,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist.
“The increase in mortgage rates has put many homebuyers back on the sidelines once again, especially first-time homebuyers who are most sensitive to affordability challenges and the impact of higher rates.”