The housing market crash that sent the world’s economy into the Great Recession in 2008 was partly caused by mortgage lenders who encouraged people to take out loans they couldn’t afford in order to purchase real estate they couldn’t realistically hope to afford. Now, it seems, the same thing is happening all over again. Is the housing market crash upon us? We’re going to look at some signs that suggest maybe it is, and offer some reasons to be concerned about the health of the real estate market today.
The effects of rising interest rates
As mortgage rates rise, housing affordability—already a challenge for many buyers—will worsen. In addition, rising interest rates will mean lower home values as people move into their homes at higher cost and with smaller down payments. And don’t forget that your own monthly payments might also increase if you are planning on refinancing to save money in these uncertain times. If you have an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), watch out: The prime rate is projected to rise more than 200 basis points over the next two years, which could result in hundreds of dollars of extra payments each month. A fixed-rate loan is likely still your best bet right now. If you do refinance, keep your old loan current so that it doesn’t go into default when it adjusts upward.
Higher delinquency rates for banks loans
As interest rates go up, more homeowners will struggle to afford their mortgage payments. If you’re considering getting a home, now might be a good time to lock in an interest rate while they’re still at historic lows. Otherwise, wait until things settle down before jumping into homeownership. And if you already own a home and are concerned about your mortgage payment becoming unaffordable in case of higher interest rates, consider refinancing or seeking help from your bank before things get too far out of hand. It may seem like it could take forever for housing prices to drop, but history has shown that economic recessions lead to significant drops in real estate values over time. There have been nine housing market crashes since 1960; here is how each one unfolded:
How could this affect you?
If you’re planning on buying a home soon, now may not be a good time. Even if you don’t plan on selling your home in the near future, you should still keep an eye on how things develop and take action if necessary. If prices do drop below their long-term average, there are steps that can help limit losses, such as waiting until interest rates have dropped before making a purchase and purchasing with cash instead of a mortgage. Mortgage loan qualification also becomes easier with lower house prices. If you’re looking to sell, it could mean big profits for homeowners who sell quickly. The sooner you sell after prices drop, the more money you will make. And even if property values go up again, having sold when they were low means that even if they rise back up high enough for another sale later on, it will likely be at a higher price than what was possible during the crash period. This is known as selling high or selling into strength.
This may be a good time to buy real estate
If you're looking to get into a new home, now might be a good time—with real estate prices still affordable and interest rates low. Whether you want to buy an investment property or settle down in a smaller place after selling your old home, there are several reasons why now is a great time for first-time home buyers.
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