June 21, 2024
Mortgage

Will Mortgage Rates Go Down in 2024? What Homebuyers Should Expect


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  • Inflation and Fed hikes have pushed mortgage rates up to a 20-year high.
  • 30-year mortgage rates are currently expected to fall to somewhere between 5.8% and 6.1% in 2024.
  • Instead of waiting for rates to drop, homebuyers should consider buying now and refinancing later to avoid increased competition next year.

Good news for borrowers: The wait for lower rates may soon be over. Mortgage rates have dropped quite a bit from where they peaked in October, and they could finally drop below 6% by the end of 2024.

The latest economic data show that inflation is slowing and the economy is cooling. The Federal Reserve seems pleased with these developments, and has indicated it’s ready to consider cutting the federal funds rate this year. All of this will remove a lot of upward pressure off of mortgage rates.

The not-so-good news: Rates probably won’t go back to the historic lows we saw in 2020 and 2021. And once rates fall, homebuyers will likely have other challenges to contend with, including increased competition and rising home prices.

Will mortgage rates go down in 2024? Right now, it’s looking like they will, but there are some things homeowners and buyers should know. Check out our in-depth mortgage rate forecast for 2024.

Why are mortgage rates so high?

Like other consumer rates, mortgage rates are impacted in large part by what’s going on in the economy. Rates climbed in 2022 in response to rising inflation. To try to quell rising prices, the Fed started aggressively hiking the federal funds rate, which has also kept mortgage rates elevated. 

But inflation has slowed significantly since it peaked in June 2022, when prices had risen 9.1% year over year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In December 2023, the Consumer Price Index was up 3.4% year over year, and it’s expected to slow even more in the coming months.

Mortgage rate predictions 2024

Most major forecasts expect rates to fall in 2024. But exactly when will mortgage rates go down? Here’s how a few of the leading players stack up in their predictions:

The MBA’s forecast suggests that 30-year mortgage rates will fall into the 6.1% to 6.9% range in 2024, and NAR’s forecast is very similar, predicting that rates will remain in the 6.1% to 6.8% range. The Fannie Mae forecast predicts that 30-year mortgage rates will drop below 6% this year, reaching 5.8% by the end of 2024.

While there’s some dispute on exactly how much rates will decrease, the general consensus is that mortgage rates will go down in 2024, and they could even end up close to or below 6% by the end of the year.

When will mortgage rates go down to 3%?

It’s possible that rates will one day go back down to 3%, though if current trends hold that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

Think about the reason why rates went so low in the first place: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fed cut the federal funds rate to near zero and purchased a large number of mortgage-backed securities to stave off an economic crisis. This allowed mortgage rates to drop as low as they did, with 30-year mortgage rates reaching an all-time low of 2.65% in January 2021, according to Freddie Mac.

No one can predict exactly when another economy-altering event like the pandemic will occur, but barring something extreme, we likely won’t see rates that low again for a while. Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, even told CNBC that he doesn’t think mortgage rates will reach the 3% range again in his lifetime.

Should I wait for mortgage rates to drop before buying a house?

With mortgage rates at the highest level they’ve been in over 20 years, some hopeful homebuyers have decided to wait for lower rates to start shopping for homes. But that’s not necessarily the best strategy, as there are some advantages to buying right now.

At the moment, the vast majority of borrowers have rates that are much lower than current rates. According to a Redfin analysis of Federal Housing Finance Agency data, 89% of homeowners have a mortgage rate below 6%. Many have rates that are even lower; 59.4% have a rate below 4%.

High rates have kept many of these homeowners from selling, since they don’t want to give up their current rates. While this has severely limited inventory, the lack of additional buyers on the market has also kept prices moderate.

Afifa Saburi, capital markets analyst for Veterans United Home Loans, says that buying now and refinancing later is a good strategy for buyers who want to avoid competition and the higher home prices that will likely come with it.

“Would-be buyers that have the ability to buy can avoid a potentially competitive market by locking in a purchase now and taking advantage of a refinance in the future,” says Saburi.

A mortgage refinance replaces your existing mortgage with a new mortgage, often with the goal of getting a lower rate or lower monthly payment. If you can afford to buy a house now, you could avoid a tough housing market next year and have the opportunity to lower your housing costs with a refinance once rates fall. Just be sure to shop around and get quotes from multiple mortgage refinance lenders to be sure you’re getting the best rate.

Mortgage rates in 2024: FAQs

Mortgage rates are likely to trend down in 2024. Depending on which forecast you look at for housing market predictions in 2024, 30-year mortgage rates could end up somewhere between 5.8% and 6.1% by the end of the year.

All consumer interest rates, including mortgage rates, should start to ease soon as inflation has been steadily trending down for over a year now. And once the Federal Reserve starts cutting the federal funds rate, which markets currently expect to happen in mid-2024, rates should drop more substantially.

Mortgage rates are currently expected to continue trending down through 2024 and into 2025. The Mortgage Bankers Association thinks that 30-year mortgage rates could fall to 5.5% in 2025.

Mortgage rates for 2023 peaked in October, when 30-year rates hit 7.79%, according to Freddie Mac.

It’s hard to accurately predict where mortgage rates might go in the next five years. Mortgage rates are impacted by the economy, which is often unpredictable or volatile. Right now, it looks like mortgage rates will ease over the next two years and remain relatively steady in the years that follow.

Interest rates have likely peaked and will trend down in the coming months and years. Borrowers should see lower rates as soon as mid-2024.



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