Now that 2019 is here, let’s take a look at what we can expect regarding interest rates and the housing market.
Experts are predicting some interesting shifts moving into 2019, including continued home appreciation (although at a slower rate) and slight interest rate increases.
Let’s take a look at the key components that drive the real estate market….
2019 Geopolitical/Finance Dynamics
One important way to understand what lies ahead has to do with taking a look at world events and the other issues that drive the economy. Here are a few things that will impact the market in 2019:
- Trade issues with China
- Possible economic slowdown, although early 2019 results have been positive
- Late 2018 Stock Market pullback – Early 2019 Rally
- The Federal Reserve – 2 planned hikes in 2019
- Rates set to rise in year ahead – How much and what will the impact be?
- Keeping an eye on inflation…watch oil prices and wage pressures
- Continued stock market volatility?
The Federal Reserve
The Federal Reserve raised borrowing costs four times in 2018, ignoring a stock-market selloff and defying pressure from President Trump, while dialing back projections for interest rates and economic growth in 2019.
By trimming the number of rate hikes they foresee in 2019, to two from three, policymakers signaled they may soon pause their monetary tightening campaign. Officials had a median projection of one move in 2020.
The Federal Open Market Committee “will continue to monitor global economic and financial developments and assess their implications for the economic outlook,” the statement said.
Here are some things to watch in 2019:
- Every meeting will have a press conference, making every meeting a live meeting, increasing speculation and volatility.
- Federal Reserve “Dot Plot” shows 2 hikes in 2019
- Inflation could rise with higher oil prices and wage pressures
- Fed scheduled to reduce their balance sheet of mortgage-backed securities and treasury bonds by $50B per month
Prediction: Fed will hike 1 time to get the Fed Funds Rate (FFR) to 2.75%, although they would love to get the federal funds rate to 3% – and they will stay course on balance sheet reduction.
The pause in Fed rate hikes acts as important catalyst to turn the tide in favor of Stocks.
It’s not very often that major players across an industry agree, but on this point, almost everyone does. Nearly all industry experts predict the 30-year mortgage will average above 5% for 2019.
Five percent used to be considered an ultra-low rate. But after years of rates in the 3s and 4s, it seems pretty steep. Still, affordable home payments won’t be hard to find, even as we adjust to the new normal.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) predicts 30-year fixed interest mortgage rates to average around 5.3 percent in 2019.
“The potential buyer who’s thinking if now is the right time to buy needs to do the math and determine what the impact of potential rising rates would be on their payment,” said Paul Bishop, the NAR’s VP of Research.
Here are some of the key factors for 2019:
- Inflation is main driver of rates, and inflation should tick higher with oil prices rebounding and wages increasing. Many states increasing minimum wages.
- Fed will continue to allow $50B to roll off balance sheet and is no longer buying
- US Government borrowing more in 2019, which will add supply to the market that will need to be absorbed
- More supply and less demand = higher rates
- Stock market increases will most likely hurt rates
Prediction: The 10-year Treasury Note will trade between 2.75% and 3.25% for most of the year. High point for 10-year is estimated at 3.5%. Mortgage rates will fluctuate in the low-mid 5% range
30-year Fixed Mortgage Rates in the 5% to 5.5% range for most of the year
Most experts predict the fevered bidding wars and snap home-buying decisions won’t be as big of a factor in most markets. Slower and steadier will characterize next year’s housing market.
That follows a 2018 that started off hot but softened into the fall as buyers – put off by high prices and few choices – sat out rather than paid up.
Affordability issues will remain a top concern going into 2019, exacerbated by rising mortgage rates. But some of 2018’s more intractable issues will begin to loosen up. The volume of for-sale homes is expected to rise and diversify, while the number of buyers is forecast to shrink.
Below are a few of the factors to watch in 2019:
- Negative media
- Rocky beginning of the year
- Stocks begin to stabilize positively
- Spring market rebound
- Demographics still favorable – More demand than supply
Prediction: 3.5% – 4% year-over year. Appreciation still creates significant wealth – and the media will get this wrong.
Sales and appreciation moderate slightly, but housing remains healthy, especially after Q1 for much of the US
Finally, more homes to choose from
One of the biggest complaints among buyers in the last several years is that there weren’t enough homes for sale. In fact, the supply of houses hit historic lows in the winter of 2017 and has yet to rebound substantially. That fueled bidding wars, price increases and frustration.
The supply crunch is expected to ease some in 2019 with inventory rising 10 percent to 15 percent, according to many experts. But the increase will be skewed toward the mid-to-high end of the market – houses priced $250,000 and higher – especially when it comes to newly built houses, said Danielle Hale, chief economist of realtor.com.
That’s good news for move-up buyers, but not so much for the first-time millennial buyer. “There’s still a mismatch on the entry-level side,” she said.
If you have more questions about 2019 – and are thinking of purchasing, don’t hesitate to reach out to me, as it would be my pleasure to help!