Brief Discussion: The Impact of Rising Mortgage Rates on Home Sales and House Prices

CR Note: There is quite a bit of information (and charts) in this article by Matthew Graham at MortgageNewsDaily: Who’s Lying About The Housing Market?. Here are a few excerpts on the impact of mortgage rates on home sales and house prices.

Pending Home Sales Click on graph for larger image.

The inventory situation may mean that prices remain more resilient in the current housing cycle despite the recent surge in interest rates. Even then, past examples of rate spikes have only had moderate impacts on housing.

Using the same home sales data from above, let’s highlight previous rate spikes so we can see the impact…

There was a big rate spike at the end of 2016 that had no discernible effect on prices. This is notable because that rate spike was fueled by economic optimism as opposed to 2013’s rate spike which happened after the Fed said they would begin decreasing their rate-friendly bond buying program. 2018 was somewhat similar as the Fed was continuing to tighten monetary policy and raise short term interest rates.

A case could be made that the current rate spike shares some similarities with 2016. The path of 10yr Treasury yields (a benchmark for longer term rates like mortgages) has largely traced pandemic progress and economic recovery hopes. Yields (aka rates) began rising late last summer as vaccine trials showed promising results and economic data began to improve.

House PricesBottom line, it is a rising rate environment until further notice. If we don’t see a negative turn of events for the economy, rates will eventually run out of steam for other reasons. But that could take time, and the overall rate spike could rival the worst past examples by the time it fully runs its course.

CR Note: There is much more in the article. As Graham notes, inventory is the key,