Selling Your House Now Will Likely Double Your Mortgage Interest Rate

With home prices hitting record highs amid demand, you’d think more people would be putting their houses up for sale—but high mortgage rates are keeping listings sparse. 

Mortgage interest rates have surged to more than 7%—the highest level in more than 20 years. Most people with 30-year fixed-rate mortgages got them at a time when mortgage rates were much lower. The average rate was under 5% between mid-2011 and early 2022, and plunged to an all-time low of 2.65% in 2021, according to Freddie Mac.

New mortgages are so unappealing that fewer people took one out last week than at any time since 1995, the Mortgage Bankers Association said.

“The market remains undersupplied given the current demand, partially due to the mortgage rate lock-in effect“ Sam Khater, chief economist at Fannie Mae, wrote in a commentary earlier this month. “This lock-in effect continues to dampen the number of listings of homes for sale, as almost two-thirds of all mortgages have rates below 4%.”

To give some idea of what those higher mortgage rates mean for home affordability—as of July, a household needed a six-figure income, well above the national median income, to afford a home, according to an analysis by HSH.

Interest rates for mortgages, along with many other kinds of loans, have been pushed upward by the Federal Reserve’s campaign to cool inflation by raising its influential benchmark interest rate. Fed officials have signaled they intend to keep that rate high for many months to come, and may even raise it higher if inflation doesn’t stay on its downward trajectory.

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