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House Prices vs Interest Rates: What to Know Feature Image
Posted on September 22, 2023 6 minute read

House Prices vs Interest Rates: What to Know

What's in this article?

Interest rates and home prices: The inverse relationship
Factors influencing interest rates and home prices
When to buy a home based on mortgage rates
Ways to improve mortgage affordability
Make it affordable and make it home—with Homefinty

Understanding the relationship between house prices vs. interest rates is crucial for first-time homebuyers concerned about the possibility of high-interest rates persisting. 

Most people understand that there is a connection between interest rates and home prices and that they play a significant role in determining the affordability of a home and the overall dynamics of the housing market. But how do they really affect one another? 

By grasping the connection between these two factors, potential homebuyers can make informed decisions when navigating the complex world of mortgages and property purchases.

Interest rates and home prices: The inverse relationship

Interest rates and home prices generally exhibit an inverse relationship: When interest rates rise, home prices tend to decrease, and vice versa. 

This effect occurs because higher interest rates increase the cost of borrowing, which in turn reduces the demand for housing. 

As a result, home prices may drop to attract potential buyers in a market with higher interest rates. However, the relationship between interest rates and home prices is not always straightforward. 

Other factors, such as the health of the economy in general can influence the impact of interest rates on home prices. 

Economic growth or decline

For instance, if the economy is growing rapidly, rising mortgage rates may not have as significant an effect on property values and housing prices. 

Housing affordability 

Higher interest rates can also affect housing affordability, as they lead to increased monthly mortgage payments. 

For example, an interest rate increase from 1.75% to 2% means that around 1.4 million households may no longer be able to afford median-priced new homes. 

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Factors influencing interest rates and home prices

Several factors influence interest rates and home prices, including economic strength, inflation, supply and demand, government policy, and local real estate trends.

Economic strength and inflation

Interest rates are affected by the overall strength of the economy and inflation levels. When the economy is growing, there is usually a higher demand for money, leading to higher interest rates. 

Inflation also plays a role, as higher inflation rates can lead to increased interest rates to maintain purchasing power.

Supply and Demand

The supply and demand for money and housing can impact interest rates and home prices. When there is a high demand for housing and a limited supply, home prices tend to increase. 

Conversely, when there is a surplus of housing and low demand, home prices may decrease.

Government Policy

Government policies, such as those set by the Federal Reserve, can influence interest rates. Additionally, tax credits, deductions, and subsidies can impact property demand and prices.

Local Real Estate Trends and Housing Market

Local real estate trends and the overall housing market can significantly impact home prices. 

Factors such as neighborhood desirability, proximity to amenities, and local economic conditions can all influence home values. 

Furthermore, the state of the housing market, including supply and demand dynamics and mortgage rates, can affect home prices.

When to buy a home based on mortgage rates

Both first-time homebuyers and repeat buyers know how significant interest rates are in terms of when to purchase a home. 

Interest rates play one of the biggest roles in determining the long-term cost of any loan, but especially for those seeking a mortgage. 

For those who plan to own their homes for more than five years, a small difference in your interest rates can equal thousands of dollars difference. 

Use a mortgage calculator

Using a mortgage calculator is essential for potential homebuyers to understand the impact of different interest rates on their monthly payments. 

This handy tool can help buyers make informed decisions about whether to purchase a home at a lower price with a higher interest rate or wait for more favorable market conditions.

Affordability calculator

An affordability calculator is another handy tool for potential homebuyers that gives a more detailed estimate of the mortgage they can afford. These calculators are based on a person’s income, expenses, and other financial factors. 

By inputting additional information such as salary, down payment, loan term, and interest rate, the calculator can provide an estimate of the monthly mortgage payments and the total purchase price within the buyer’s financial reach. 

These tools allow users to explore different scenarios and understand how various interest rates and loan terms can impact their monthly payments. 

Homebuyers can make better-informed decisions about the type of mortgage that best suits their financial situation and avoid taking on a mortgage that may be too burdensome.

Ways to improve mortgage affordability

Improving mortgage affordability is essential for potential homebuyers who want to secure a home loan that fits their financial situation. Here are some general ways to create a more favorable and affordable mortgage.

  1. Improve your credit score: Higher credit scores can lead to better mortgage rates and terms, ultimately reducing your monthly payments. Pay bills on time, reduce your debt-to-income ratio, and avoid applying for any new credit before seeking a mortgage.
  2. Save for a larger down payment: Larger down payments can lower your monthly mortgage payments. Plus, it could help you avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI). Aiming for 20% of the home’s purchase price is a good general target.
  3. Check out the best mortgage rates: Comparing mortgage rates from different lenders can help you secure the best possible rate. Take the time to research and negotiate with multiple lenders before committing to a mortgage.
  4. Consider a longer loan term: Opt for a longer loan term. A 30-year mortgage instead of a 15-year mortgage can result in lower monthly payments. However, keep in mind that this will also increase the total amount of interest paid over the life of the loan.
  5. Explore government-backed loan programs: Programs like FHA, VA, and USDA loans can offer lower down payment requirements and more lenient credit score criteria, making it easier for some borrowers to qualify for a mortgage.

By implementing these strategies, potential homebuyers can improve their mortgage affordability and secure a home loan that aligns with their financial goals.

Make it affordable and make it home—with Homefinty

The intricate relationship between interest rates and home prices plays a crucial role in the housing market. 

We can’t control the market. But we can provide you with the most affordable options for your situation and help you turn a house into your dream home. 

Get started on your homebuying journey with Homefinity.

Explore our available homebuying resources to help you navigate the complex world of mortgages.

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