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Housing affordability has challenged the resolve of many homebuying hopefuls over the last couple of years as both mortgage rates and home prices climbed. However, based on a recent survey, buyers still think funding a home purchase is possible, especially if mortgage rates ease. A sizable 40% of potential buyers would find a home purchase feasible if mortgage rates were to drop below 6%, and another 32% of buyers would be willing to participate if rates dropped below 5%.

Younger respondents tended to be more willing to move forward and bullish on purchasing a home, even given tough housing conditions. Roughly 47% of Millennial respondents and 37% of Gen Z respondents said that they would still buy a home if rates were higher than 8%. Along this line, over half of Millennials (55%) and 40% of their Gen Z counterparts feel now is a good time to buy. Whereas, only 32% of Gen X and a mere 17% of Boomers feel the same.

 

Despite still-rising home prices and climbing down payment trends raising the cost of entry, younger homebuying hopefuls are optimistic on their buying timeline. More than a third (43%) of millennial respondents think they’ll be able to afford a home in the next year, and another 32% believe they’ll be able to afford a home in the next five years. Almost half (45%) of Gen Z respondents have their sights set on a home purchase in the next 5 years. Older generations are more likely to already own homes, so are not as optimistic about buying a new home in the short term.

 

 

Small mortgage rate improvements can have a big impact on housing payments. Although rates are not anticipated to go below 6.5% this year, according to Realtor.com’s 2024 Housing Forecast, a half percent drop in the mortgage rate from 7.0% to 6.5% reduces the monthly payment for the typical home for sale by $120, a savings of $1,400 per year and $43,000 over the life of a 30-year mortgage. A 2 percentage point drop in mortgage rates, from 7.0% to 5.0% would mean nearly $475 of savings per month, assuming a 10% down payment on today’s median priced home ($410,000). This improvement would translate to $5,700 per year or roughly $170,000 over the lifetime of a 30-year loan.

 

Buyers can “rate proof” their budget by using a mortgage calculator, like the one at Realtor.com, to find out what mortgage rate changes mean for their mortgage payment and be prepared to adapt quickly no matter what 2024 has in store.

Source: Realtor.com