You may remember the famous line in the Dirty Harry movie when Clint Eastwood has just had a shootout with bank robbers and is standing in front of the lone surviving thief who is considering going for his gun. Harry with his gun pointed at the bad guy says to him ""Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I kinda lost track myself. But being this is a 44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya?"
Our economy has had a long recovery from the great recession, due in most part to the housing crisis of 2007-2009. Then, the Pandemic hit in 2020 which tanked the worldwide economy but the surprise to homeowners happened to be housing. 2021 became a red-hot market with prices going up by 21% nationally.
In 2022, mortgage rates have increased by four percentage points and haven’t been this high since 2008. Inflation, at the end of September, reached a 40-year high at 8.2%. The Fed recently said they’ll continue raising rates until they can get inflation near their target of 2% annual rate.
People who own homes have seen their values go up dramatically and so has their net worth. Due to the extremely low inventories and the maturing millennial market, there is a lot of pent-up demand for housing.
This leads us to the scene in the movie. You may be considering buying a house now but at the same time, you’re thinking "Have prices and mortgage rates hit the top of the market so they’ll start coming down or will they continue to go up, making it cost more to get into a home?"
The facts are that the U.S. is the strongest economy in the world. The housing bubble of 2007 was created by over-inflated property values and predatory lending practices. Those conditions don’t exist today. There is a housing shortage in America due to not enough homes being built to keep up with demand and people staying in their homes longer.
Homeowners have record amounts equity in their homes and foreclosure rate hit a historic low at the end of 2021 even though it edged up a bit in spring of 2022 as reported by CoreLogic.
Homes are expected to continue to appreciate but not as fast as they did in 2021. The revised predictions for 2022 appreciation vary from Fannie Mae at 16%, Freddie Mac at 12.8% to NAR at 11.5%.
NAR Senior Economist Nadia Evangelou recently said "Mortgage rates are a heartbeat away from the 7% threshold. According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose to 6.92% from 6.66% the previous week. While inflation remains elevated, mortgage rates will continue to move up, making homeownership even further out of reach for many."
If the home you could buy this year for $500,000, will cost you $550,000 next year and the mortgage rate goes up from 6.5% to 7.5%, the payment will go from $2,844 to $3,461 based on a 90% mortgage for 30-years.
If interest rates are temporarily high based on the Fed’s position to lower inflation, a home could be purchased at today’s price and refinanced later when the rates come down. 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages allow a borrower to lock in a lower initial rate for five years which would allow a person to find the best time to refinance.
So, back to the movie scene… "you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya?"