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Are Slower Rate Hikes Enough to Bring Buyers Back to the For-Sale Market?

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Are Slower Rate Hikes Enough to Bring Buyers Back to the For-Sale Market?

Homebuyer demand rebounded slightly after a small dip in the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, but an inflated economy continues to pose affordability challenges even in a cooling market

February 2, 2023
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Buyers are slowly returning to the for-sale market after a slight dip in the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, but experts say fears of a 2023 recession are still keeping many prospective house hunters glued to the sidelines. The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 6.09% this week, the lowest level in five months after a barrage of consecutive hikes from the Federal Reserve.

Still, Wednesday’s quarter of a percentage point increase marked the eighth jump in the last 11 months, and despite a cooling housing market, high inflation continues to strain Americans in the real estate sector and beyond, The New York Times reports.

Falling mortgage costs “will generally boost demand a little bit because more folks will be able to buy,” said Nicole Bachaud, senior economist at Zillow, a site that estimates home values. But she cautioned that home prices, which have been ticking lower on a monthly basis, remained high because owners who had locked in low rates years ago had little incentive to sell now.

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