Freddie Mac’s December U.S. Economic & Housing Market Outlook reported in June on how rising rates would affect home affordability throughout the U.S. Freddie Mac determined that the answer is “it depends”. Mostly it depends on what area of the country you live in and how quickly the home prices are rising in that area.
Freddie Mac determined that in most markets rates would have to rise to 7% before home became unaffordable to the typical family. What we do see though is rising rates affects how much home a buyer qualifies for, and as home prices and rates increase, the quality of home the typical buyer can afford will decrease.
Right now at least 50% of Utah households would qualify for mortgage loan of $248,000, which with 5% down on a Conventional loan would equate to roughly a $261,000 purchase price.
If interest rates rise 0.5% the purchase price drops to $247,000. If they rise a full percent above the current level home purchase power drops to $236,0000.
The good news is that right now this still puts most homes in Salt Lake County within the budget of 50% of Utah households. I think what we are going to see if rates continue to rise is a stabilizing of home prices, or at least not the double-digit gains of the past couple of years. With affordability going down, offering prices will be lower and thus home values in general will not continue to increase at their current rate.