Optimism Could Outpace Rising Interest Rates

The direction of home loan interest rates has been spurring concern among this spring’s house hunters. In early May, the trend continued as U.S. rates spawned headlines dotted with phrases like “highest in 13 years” and “Fed hits housing market.” Even for industry reporters at The Mortgage Reports—scribes who tend to emphasize the bright side—the best anyone could come up with on Thursday was, “Rates steady-ish today.” Fox Business struggled to find some positive spin, but settled for “Refinance Rates Plunge to 3-Week Low” (refi rates “plunged” from 5.37% to 5.125%).

Still, for those of us who choose to follow Louis Armstrong’s advice to “just direct your feet/to the sunny side of the street,” there were some optimism-tinged media reports:
• From nextadvisor.com: “Homebuyers are giving ARM loans a new look…” For homebuyers who plan to buy another home before the initial rate period expires, adjustable rates are still starting at very inviting levels.
• From Citizens Bank: “The Fed’s hike doesn’t directly affect mortgage rates… [and have] “likely already been factored into rates.”
• From themortgagereports.com: [recommending whether to lock current rates]: “7 days-lock; 15days-lock; 30 days-lock; 45 days-lock; 60 days-lock.”
• From PBS’s Newshour: “The central bank will start reducing its large holdings—a policy tool the Fed uses to keep long-term interest rates, like those on mortgages, low.”
• From TIME: “The big rise so far this year for mortgage rates likely won’t continue [rising] at that speed for long….”

In fact, scribes would have done well to recall government-sponsored Freddie Mac’s data for a sunnier perspective. The record shows what prospective homebuyers would be reassured to see: in NextAdvisor’s words, “Historical Mortgage Rates: Today’s Rates Are Still Favorable.” A chart entitled “Mortgages Rates History as of March 1, 2022” illustrated the point—beginning in the Year 2000, the line traces a marked decline from where rates stood at the start of the millennium: at 8.33%!