One of the most talked about questions in the real estate market has to do with “Will prices continue to rise now that interest rates have increased dramatically this year?” It is understandable to think that if the Federal Reserve is using interest rate increases to slow consumer demand, that it would also slow homebuyer demand to moderate prices. Unfortunately for would-be homebuyers, it isn’t the case. High inflation, strong economic growth, low unemployment, and increased wage growth have been associated with high home price appreciation. In a recent newsletter from First American, Chief Economist, Mark Fleming stated that historically, 90% of total inventory is from existing homes and homeowners are not moving as often as in the past. Prior to 2007, the average tenure was five years. After the housing crisis, between 2008 and 2016, the length of time spent in a home went to eight years. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist with the National Association of REALTORS� when talking about the May 2022 statistics: “Nonetheless, homes priced appropriately are selling quickly and inventory levels still need to rise substantially … almost doubling … to cool home price appreciation and provide more options for home buyers.” Median sales price rose to a new high of $403,800, up 10.8% from July 2021, while sales are down 20% year over year and inventory increased slightly to 3.3 months from 2.6 months in July of 2021. In the beginning of 2022, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and NAR predicted home price appreciation would be 7.6%, 6.2%, and 5.1% for the year. Their revised forecast has been increased to 16%, 12.8%, and 11.5%. Buyer demand still exceeds inventory levels which is driving prices higher. While the Fed does not set mortgage rates, it does determine the Fed Funds Rate which is charged by banks to each other for overnight funds. The increases often affect the U.S. Treasury rates to increase and there is generally a reaction when the 10-year U.S. Treasury Note yields increase for the 30-year mortgage rates to increase also. The National Association of REALTORS�, on their website, states “The Housing Affordability Index measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national and regional levels based on the most recent price and income data.” The Index uses the 30-year fixed rate mortgage as provided by Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS). Mortgage rates have gone up over 2% in the first half of 2022. That dramatically affects the affordability of the home even if the price didn’t increase, which it did. A $360,000 mortgage at 3.05% in December 2021 would have a principal and interest payment of $1,528 for 30-years. At 5.22% as of August 11, 2022, the P&I payment is $1,981 or a difference of $453 dollars or a 30% increase. As of May 2022, homeowners are now staying in their homes 10.6 years. Part of the reasons can be contributed to the pandemic, but a large degree is attributed to the lack of inventory. Existing homeowners can sell their home for premium prices and in unusually short time frames, but the problem is finding a home to replace it. The demand for housing still exceeds the supply and price are continuing to rise, although, maybe not as the same pace as 2021. Many economists predicted that price appreciation would slow but CoreLogic reported “Home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased year-over-year by 20.9% in April 2022 compared with April 2021. In the same report, CoreLogic predicted “…home prices are forecast to increase on a year-over-year basis by 5.6% from April 2022 to April 2023.” Another frequent question homeowners have is whether to wait to see if prices moderate and interest rates decline. The probability is more likely for prices to continue to increase along with mortgage rates. The consequences of waiting, in hopes of lower prices and rates, could totally price a person out of the market for the home they want. Using a $400,000 home that could be purchased today at 5.22% on a 90%, 30-year mortgage, the P&I payments would be $1,981. If the price appreciated only 5% in the next year and the mortgage rates were to go up by 1%, the payment would increase by $339 a month. If a person stayed in the home for 7 years, the increased cost would be $28,458 and if they stayed for full term, it would cost them $121,965 more by waiting. Increases in rates and prices have forced some people out of the market, at least temporarily. For the fortunate ones, who can still afford to buy, even with the increases, acting now could save them tens of thousands and maybe hundreds of thousands depending on the price of the home. Make an appointment with your real estate professional to get the facts on what you home is worth, the mortgages available, and the logistics to put it together for your best advantage.