Brexit Vote Drives Down Mortgage Rate

Brexit and the US Mortgage Market

Mortgage rates have fallen to new lows as global investors turned to the 10-year Treasury note as a more stable investment. Affordability, in turn, has increased, with lower mortgage rates making it easier for move-up and first-timers to get into a new home. Similarly, international buyers, who might have had their eyes set on London or other European destinations, are finding the U.S. housing market much more attractive.

In the most recent Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.41 percent, just slightly above the all-time record low. This is likely to result in a boost in housing activity, particularly refinance, as homeowners take advantage of the current low rates.

“With the U.K.’s decision to exit from the European Union, global risks increased substantially leading us to revise our views for the remainder of 2016 and all of 2017,” says Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Nonetheless, the turbulence abroad should continue to create demand for U.S. Treasuries and keep mortgage rates near historic lows; thereby, allowing home sales to have their best year in a decade, along with a boost in refinance activity.”

Results lead experts to expect growth rebound in the remaining quarters of 2016 to show GDP at 1.9 and 2.2 percent in 2016 and 2017. In light of recent global pressures, the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage forecast has been revised down for both 2016 (by 30 basis points) and 2017 (by 50 basis points) to 3.6 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively.

Based on these low mortgage rates, expect the refinance share of originations to rise to 49 percent for 2016, 8 percentage points above last month’s forecast. This translates to about $100 billion more in originations, bringing the total for 2016 to $1,825 billion.

With June’s much-improved employment report over May’s release, expect unemployment to average 4.9 percent in 2016 and 4.8 percent in 2017.

The house price appreciation forecast for 2016 remains at 5.0 percent, and in 2017, 4.0 percent.

With lower rates comes increased purchasing power, so if you’ve been thinking about buying a home—whether it’s your first purchase, a vacation home or an investment property—now’s the ideal time to make the move.

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