Friday, December 4, 2015

Ten financial experts weigh in on how a FED rate hike will affect the real estate market.

How will the FED rate hike affect the real estate and mortgage markets? Will housing slow down because of a slight bump in the FED, or will it continue its steady appreciation based on strong demand and emboldened consumer confidence? We collected the personal thoughts and opinions form ten noted financial and housing experts:

1. Nela Richardson, chief economist for national real estate brokerage Redfin:
"Buyers now don't seem to be all that spurred or driven by a rate increase. That lack of urgency will translate into next year's housing market. There's interest, but there's not a lot of inventory to buy."

2. Ralph McLaughlin, housing economist at Trulia:
“When rates do increase, it could be as little as a quarter percent. I don’t expect that to have a big impact on the market, but it could temper home price growth, which is good news for prospective homebuyers. Interest rates won't have much of an effect on the 'rent versus buy' math. Buying would still be cheaper than renting in most metros around the country."

3. Selma Hepp, chief economist for Trulia:
“If the Feds decide to increase the rate at their meeting tomorrow, any increases in rates will be nominal and gradual. Impact on homebuyers will be minimal. For example, an increase of 25 basis points on a mortgage loan of $250,000, raises the mortgage payment by $35. I don’t think that will turn people off from buying a home, but they may end up looking to buy a slightly less expensive home.”

“I think the strong economic fundamentals, including robust job growth, better-paying jobs, rising wages and strong consumer demand will, in fact, increase demand for homes. Long term, interest rates may slow home price appreciation but I don’t think it will have a notable impact on home sales.”

4. Mark Fleming, chief economist at First American Financial:
“Of course, we cannot be sure exactly how mortgage rates and the housing market will respond to a Fed rate increase.  But, we can say with some certainty that the Fed will eventually raise rates. When it does, the housing market isn’t doomed to fail, but rather adjust to the reality of interest rates that are reflective of a strengthening economy and certainly more traditional financial conditions. A stronger economy, more or better jobs, rising wages, increased confidence—these factors all increase demand for housing. In other words, rising rates are indicative of increased home sales and upward pressure on prices.”

5. Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for
“The Fed decision is symbol over substance as far as immediate direct impact to mortgage rates go. Their move will impact the consumer and the broader perception and expectations for rates given how much attention is paid to the Fed and this particular decision.”

“In aggregate I think the near-term impact is negligible if not positive. The 30-year rate already varied by 50 basis points from its low in January to its high in June, and since then we’ve floated back down 20 basis points. No one is expecting rates to move substantially in the months ahead given global economic weakness.  We’re likely to see about 50 basis points of increase over the next 12 months.  The historical perspective shows that even at 50 basis points higher than today, mortgage rates are incredibly low.  Couple that with improving household finances and incomes—especially in the segments who are driving home sales this year—slightly higher rates won’t put a damper on the increased demand we’ve seen this year. We’re months if not years away from the type of high rates that would pose substantial risk to home sales, especially since what’s driving the gradual movement to higher rates is a much healthier economy producing consistent solid gains in employment and household formations.”

6. Svenja Gudell, chief economist for Zillow :
“I don’t think it’s going to have a big impact. It will have a small impact in markets like San Francisco where housing is expensive. It will hit markets where there is very little wiggle room, more than a market like Cleveland or a metro area where home values aren’t so high. It’s not going to be a showstopper. The Fed is not interested in rocking the system; it will be a fairly smooth ramp up.”

7. Lynn Fisher, vice president of research and economics with the Mortgage Bankers Association:
“We think that the fact that they’re ready is a reflection of an improving domestic economy. The jobless rate is at a 7-year low and wage growth is starting to heat up. Both will buoy demand.”

8. Steve East, chief economist and market strategist for Height Securities:
“It’s more clear that the Fed is going to raise rates than that the long end is going to go up because presumably some rate hike cycle is priced in. Even if the Fed’s actions do hit the mortgage market, I don’t think a 25 basis point increase in mortgage rates is going to make a difference in demand.”

9. David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management:
"Aspiring homeowners have to meet three criteria to qualify for a mortgage: sufficient savings for a down payment, an acceptable credit score, and proof that they can make their monthly payments. That final component is the most susceptible to rise along with interest rates, but is also by far the easiest of those hurdles to surmount.”

10. Joe LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank:
"Debt service is not the problem for people who want to take out a mortgage. Lower rates and a flatter curve aren't going to help the housing market too much if you can't get a mortgage because standards are still too tight. How good can the economy be if rates are still at zero?""

"When the Federal Reserve raises rates from low levels it is generally taken as a sign of economic confidence—that the economy no longer needs the Fed’s help—and that rising confidence is generally positive...”

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