Understanding the Decline of Mortgage Rates

Oriana Suarez January 4, 2024


Understanding the Decline of Mortgage Rates

Understanding the intricate dance between inflation, the Federal Reserve (the Fed), and your homebuying plans is essential when navigating the housing market. Let's delve into the factors influencing these dynamics and explore how they might shape the trajectory of mortgage rates.

Are Mortgage Rates Declining in 2024?

As a key player in controlling inflation, the Fed initiated Federal Funds Rate hikes to temper economic activity. While this doesn't dictate mortgage rates directly, it exerts influence. Recent signs of cooling inflation prompted the Fed to reduce the intensity and frequency of their hikes.

Recently, there have been no rate increases, and indications from the New York Times suggest potential rate cuts in 2024. This shift reflects the Fed's confidence in an improving economy and decreasing inflation, signaling a potential impact on mortgage rates.  In fact, there haven’t been any increases since July (see graph below):

Not only has the Fed decided not to raise the Federal Funds Rate the last three times the committee met, but they’ve also signaled there may be rate cuts coming in 2024. According to the New York Times (NYT):

“Federal Reserve officials left interest rates unchanged in their final policy decision of 2023 and forecast that they will cut borrowing costs three times in the coming year, a sign that the central bank is shifting toward the next phase in its fight against rapid inflation.”

Mortgage Rates Are Coming Down

The complex interplay of factors, including inflation and the Fed's actions, significantly influences mortgage rates. Now that the Fed has paused the increases, it looks more likely mortgage rates will continue their downward trend (see graph below):

While some volatility may persist, recent trends, coupled with expert forecasts, suggest a potential continuation of declining rates into 2024. This trend not only enhances affordability for buyers but also provides flexibility for sellers, making it easier to transition without feeling tethered to current low mortgage rates.

Bottom Line

The Fed's decisions, though indirect, reverberate in the mortgage rate landscape. By opting not to raise the Federal Funds Rate, the likelihood of continued declines in mortgage rates becomes more apparent. Rely on a reliable real estate professional who can offer knowledgeable guidance catered to the evolving housing market to successfully navigate these market challenges.

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