The Federal Reserve is expected to make smaller interest rate hikes in 2023, giving analysts the feeling that we’ve seen the peak of inflation. But according to The Mortgage Reports, the effects on mortgage rates is still uncertain, although experts think they’ll either moderate or rise.
“I believe the 30-year fixed rates will hold around 6.5% and 15-year fixed somewhere around 5.875% until we see some significant reduction in the inflation numbers,” Ralph DiBugnara, President of Home Qualified, told The Mortgage Reports.
Until the market has a better grip on where inflation will shake out, mortgage rates may fluctuate, said Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American. She agreed, though, that interest rates play a critical factor. “The March FOMC meeting will provide some insight into the Fed’s path on interest rate hikes. If incoming data points to softening inflation and the Fed doesn’t turn more hawkish in March, mortgage rates may moderate.”
The up-and-down is due to tension between financial market expectations and economic data that points to resilience, according to George Ratiu, Senior Economist at Realtor.com, who predicts that rates will moderate overall.
“Mortgage rates are going to move up and down in a 6% - 7% range over the next few weeks, in response to several macro factors, including the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy, economic performance and inflation,” he told The Mortgage Reports. “Investors have been expecting the economy to fall into a recession for the past eight months, in response to the Fed’s rate hikes. At the same time, a strong job market and rising wages have pushed retail sales higher, and maintained consumer spending as a driving engine of economic growth.”
But some housing experts expect the rates to rise in March, which may have an impact on the spring home-buying market. “While they may not surpass the peak rates we saw in November, when most mortgages had interest rates above 7%, it seems likely that March 30-year loans will have rates close to that, probably staying between 6.5-7.0%,” said Rick Sharga, President and Chief Executive Officer of CJ Patrick Company.
In addition to inflation and a better-than-expected jobs report, a surge in yields on U.S. Treasuries “makes a drop in mortgage rates more unlikely,” he said.