On June 14th, the Federal Reserve increased its federal funds interest rate by 0.25%. They’re also widely expected to raise rates once or twice more over the course of 2017. What does this mean for the real estate market?
While any action by the Fed always garners a lot of attention, I believe these increases will not have any significant impact on our market.
First of all, mortgage rates have actually trended lower in the wake of the Fed’s recent announcement. The 30-year mortgage rate recently hit 3.9%, the lowest level in 2017. In fact, it’s a common pattern for the mortgage rate and the Fed rate to move in opposite directions, and the same thing has happened the last two times the Fed raised rates.
Second, the economy continues to do well. The Fed decided to increase its rate because unemployment and inflation are low, household spending is picking up, and we’ve seen steady growth for the past nine years. This is good news for the real estate market. As expected, we continue to see strong demand and a corresponding increase in home prices.
Third, while the Fed’s rate increase is normally meant to cool off the economy, it might actually stimulate it in this case. Because interest rates were so low for such a long period of time, experts believe the recent increases might ease pressure on the financial system and encourage lending.
Case in point: since the Fed started raising its rate in December 2016, total mortgages are up 2.5% year over year.
In conclusion, while any move by the Fed is likely to lead to a lot of hand-wringing, I believe the real estate market will not be affected and will continue on its own healthy course. Nonetheless, it’s clear that right now is a uniquely good moment for everyone in the real estate market. Today’s low mortgage rates are good for homebuyers because they make homes more affordable.
If you have any questions about our market or you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, give me a call at 703-328-3434 or send me an email at Janet@TheGreshGroup.com. I’d love to help.