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November 2019 Mortgage Rates Forecast

By Tim Lucas, The Mortgage Reports

Mortgage rates forecast for November 2019

You may have heard that mortgage rates rose recently.

But you might not have heard that rates are still about 1.25% below late-2018 levels, according to Freddie Mac data.

A 10% down, $350,000 home is still about $200 per month cheaper than it was one year ago.

Refinancing homeowners are benefitting, too. Someone with an already-low rate of 4.25% could save $100 per month on a $300,000 loan, again using Freddie Mac’s average rate data.

Think you missed out on low rates? Think again. November mortgage rates should stay near 3-year lows.

Predictions for November

November will be a wild ride for mortgage rates. Market-moving news will leave rates different than they were in October. The only question is, will they be more or less advantageous for mortgage shoppers?

Forecasts for 2019 put rates somewhere around 3.85% by the end of the year. That’s down from predictions earlier in the year that called for rates in the 5s.

Rates steadily dropped from late-2018 to September 2019, when they rose slightly. Rates are still running well below the 4% mark according to Freddie Mac.

Been looking for a good rate on a refinance or home purchase? Now might be the time to lock.

Trump still advocating for lower rates

President Trump is less than ambiguous about his opinion about rates.

In a series of tweets, as well as in a recent White House meeting, Trump declared that the Fed should cut rates to keep in-line with other major economies.

“The Federal Reserve should cut rates regardless of how good this is. We have a great economy, but we have a Federal Reserve that’s not in step with the rest of the world. I think they ought to get in step.” –President Trump

The Fed doesn’t control mortgage rates, but lower Fed rates support an overall low-rate environment. That could spell more affordable housing for homeowners in the U.S.

As rates dip, buying a home becomes more affordable. In fact, buying a $350,000 home with 10% down is about $200 per month cheaper than it was in late 2018, thanks to rates that are around 1.25% lower.

That could mean living closer to work, having one more bedroom, or a larger yard. Low interest rates, in short, can mean better quality of life.

Current homeowners benefit as well, since they can reduce monthly costs with a refinance.

Rates aren’t guaranteed to fall, but pressure from the White House goes a long way toward lowering interest rates of all kinds, including mortgage rates.

November will feel the effects of a late-October Fed meeting

The Federal reserve uses “levers” to adjust economic performance in the U.S. One of those levers is the federal funds rate.

It’s the rate at which banks can lend each other money, but it affects home equity lines, credit card rates, and even mortgage rates, although indirectly.

On September 18, the Fed cut rates for just the second time since December 2008. (The other one was during the previous meeting on July 31.) Lackluster economic data has combined with pressure from President Trump to cut rates.

Yet the Fed is divided on whether to issue another rate cut in 2019. The September post-meeting announcement indicated that just 7 of 10 voting members approved the 0.25% rate cut that month. Two wanted rates to stay put, and one voting member wanted an even deeper cut of 0.50%

Additionally, most Fed members see the federal funds rate staying put for the rest of 2019, or even rising.

So now all eyes are on the Fed as it prepares for its October 29-30 meeting. As of the time of this writing in mid-October, there was an 86% chance that the Fed would cut rates by another 0.25%, according the CME Group FedWatch tool.

So what does all that mean for mortgage rates in November?

Ironically, mortgage rates could rise in the face of a Fed rate cut. That’s because the Fed could indicate lower-than expected chances of additional rate cuts and stimulus in 2020. Markets are always forward-looking, so rates could rise in anticipation of a tighter Fed.

Mortgage rates are already extremely low, so it might not be worth risking higher rates in November if you find a rate you’re satisfied with now.

Will mortgage rates stay low?

Though rates may rise somewhat, we are still predicting rates below 4% through 2019.

Rates fell this year until mid-September. Suddenly, mortgage rates rose, perhaps as a correction to an 8-month mortgage rate bull market.

But the fact remains that all the factors that led to low rates in the first place are still present.

Rate-suppressing factors include:

China Trade war: The U.S. and China recently reached a partial trade deal which increased China’s agricultural purchases and dealt with some intellectual property issues. However, the two economic giants will continue to duel and any negative development could push rates lower.

Economic uncertainty: Manufacturing has slowed this year, hitting a 10-year low in August. Trade uncertainty is weighing on businesses and overall economic impact is unclear. Additionally, predictions of recession are becoming more common. Even that possibility is helping keep rates low.

Demand for U.S. financial instruments: Mortgage rates are determined by the price of mortgage-backed securities (MBS). These are financial instruments, bought and sold by investors worldwide. As rates fall in other economies (Japan and Germany are now issuing negative-rate bonds), U.S. mortgages are looking awfully attractive. Even a 3% return on investment is better than 0% or even negative. Imagine if you had to pay to keep your money in a savings account. That’s exactly what investors in many economies are doing. U.S. mortgage bonds will continue to deliver positive returns, so investors will pile in. This demand drives down consumer mortgage rates.

If you’ve been thinking about a home purchase, refinance, or home equity line of credit, this month is looking to be a great one to take action.

Mortgage rate trends as predicted by housing authorities

Housing agencies nationwide are calling for rates in the high 3s or low 4s for the remainder of 2019.

To sum it up, rate predictions vary widely. Today’s rate might be as good as we’ll see for years to come, or they might improve.

Advice for November 2019

Knowing what will happen in November is only half the battle. As a mortgage rate shopper, you need to know the best actions to take this month.

Buy before home prices rise

All this talk of low rates has not gone unnoticed by new home buyers.

In 2018, buyers were sitting the fence. Now they are jumping off it in droves, running toward any available housing.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), sales of existing homes were up 2.5% in July and another 1.3% in August (the most recent data available).

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said, “As expected, buyers are finding it hard to resist the current rates. The desire to take advantage of these promising conditions is leading more buyers to the market.”

“Buyers are finding it hard to resist the current rates.” –Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist

Rates are low. That makes previously unaffordable homes affordable, to the tune of $200 per month on a $350,000 mortgage, for every 1% rate drop.

But there’s a darker side to lower rates: rising home prices.

In the remainder of 2019 and into 2020, home prices are bound to rise and bidding wars to become more commonplace.

Fannie Mae released its Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI), which indicated that 41% of consumers believe home prices will rise in the next 12 months, a 5-point bump from the previous month.

Renters should seriously consider capitalizing on today’s combination of ultra-low rates and still-reasonable home prices. A year from now, they might be glad they did.

It’s time to discover your new buying power

You might be surprised at what you can afford for $1,500 per month.

In a recent study, The Mortgage Reports calculated how much you could buy with that payment, this year versus last.

In September 2018, a $375,000 home was in reach. But at current rates, buying power has increased to over $400,000 with the same payment.

For every 1.0% rate drop, you can afford about 11% more home.

If you think you’ve been priced out of the market, it’s time to take another look. You might be able to afford more than you thought, thanks to current rates.

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