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Mortgage of the day, refinancing rate: January 5, 2023

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After spending most of last month hovering around 6%, average 30-year fixed mortgage rates rose last week. They remain high today.

Rates are below their recent highs, when they topped 7%, but are still relatively high compared to historic lows that borrowers have enjoyed throughout 2020 and 2021. This has kept many potential buyers from getting find on the market. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the number of people applying for mortgages is the lowest since 1996.

“Buying inquiries have been impacted by slowing home sales in both new and existing segments of the market,” Joel Kan, MBA’s vice president and deputy chief economist, said in a press release. “Even though home price growth is slowing in many parts of the country, high mortgage rates continue to put pressure on affordability and keep potential buyers out of the market.”

Today’s Mortgage Rates

Type of mortgage Average rate today
This information was provided by Zillow. See more mortgage rates on Zillow

Today’s Refinance Rates

Type of mortgage Average rate today
This information was provided by Zillow. See more mortgage rates on Zillow

mortgage calculator

Use our free mortgage calculator to see how today’s mortgage rates will affect your monthly and long-term payments.

mortgage calculator

$1,161
Your estimated monthly payment

  • pay one 25% a higher down payment would save you $8,916.08 on interest charges
  • Lower the interest rate by 1% would save you $51,562.03
  • Pay an extra fee $500 each month would reduce the term of the loan by 146 month

By plugging in different terms and interest rates, you’ll see how your monthly payment might change.

Projection of mortgage rates for 2023

Mortgage rates started to recover from historic lows in the second half of 2021 and increased by more than three percentage points in 2022.

But many forecasts predict that rates will start falling this year. In their latest forecast, Fannie Mae researchers predicted that 30-year fixed rates will trend lower throughout 2023 and 2024.

But whether mortgage rates will fall in 2023 depends on the Federal Reserve’s ability to control inflation.

Over the past 12 months, the consumer price index has increased by 7.1%. This is a significant slowdown from inflation at the start of the year, which is a sign that mortgage rates may also start to fall soon.

If the Fed acts too aggressively and engineer a recession, mortgage rates could fall further than currently forecast. But rates are unlikely to fall to the historic lows that borrowers enjoyed a few years ago.

Should I get a HELOC? Advantages and disadvantages

If you’re looking to tap into the equity in your home, a HELOC might be the best way to do it right now. Unlike a cash-out refinance, you won’t have to get a new mortgage with a new interest rate, and you’ll likely get a better rate than with a home equity loan.

But HELOCs don’t always make sense. It is important to consider the pros and cons.

HELOC Benefits

  • Only pay interest on what you borrow
  • They usually have lower rates than alternatives, including home equity loans, personal loans and credit cards
  • If you have a lot of equity, you could potentially borrow more than you could get with a personal loan.

Against HELOC

  • Rates are variable, which means your monthly payments could increase
  • Withdrawing equity from your home can be risky if the value of the property drops or you fail to repay the loan
  • The minimum withdrawal amount may be more than you wish to borrow

When will real estate prices go down?

House prices are starting to drop, but we probably won’t see huge drops, even in a recession.

The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index shows that prices are still up year over year, although they have fallen on a monthly basis. Fannie Mae researchers predict a 1.5% price decline in 2023, while the MBA predicts a 0.7% increase in 2023 and a 0.1% decline in 2024.

Skyrocketing mortgage rates have pushed many hopeful buyers out of the market, slowing demand for home purchases and putting downward pressure on home prices. But rates could start to come down this year, taking some of that pressure off. The current supply of homes is also historically low, which will likely prevent prices from falling too far.

What happens to house prices in a recession?

House prices generally fall during a recession, but not always. When this happens, it’s usually because fewer people can afford to buy homes and weak demand forces sellers to lower their prices.

How much mortgage can I afford?

A mortgage calculator can help you determine how much you can afford to borrow. Play around with different house prices and down payment amounts to see how much your monthly payment might be, and think about how that fits into your overall budget.

As a general rule, experts recommend spending no more than 28% of your gross monthly income on housing expenses. This means that your total monthly mortgage payment, including taxes and insurance, should not exceed 28% of your pre-tax monthly income.

The lower your rate, the more you’ll be able to borrow, so shop around and get pre-approved with multiple mortgage lenders to see who can offer you the best rate. But remember not to borrow more than your budget can comfortably support.

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