Mortgage rates fall to lowest levels since May 2023?

A shot of Lake Norman, North Carolina after the sun set at the shore along the marina near Charlotte | mortgage rate news

Mortgage rates at lowest levels since May

A recent article from CNN reviewed the current mortgage rate environment and showed that rates are at their lowest levels since May 2023. The national average for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is more than a full point down from the highest levels last year.

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said, “This is an encouraging development for the housing market and in particular first-time homebuyers who are sensitive to changes in housing affordability.” Khater also expressed caution when he mentioned that limited inventory will still make finding a home a challenge.

What did this week’s jobs data say?

According to the weekly jobs report from the U.S. Department of Labor, initial filings for unemployment insurance totaled 187,000 for the week that ended on January 13th. This is the lowest weekly level since September 24th, 2022.

The total for continuing claims hit 1.806 million. This came in below the 1.83 million estimate.

The U.S. labor market has continued to show strength despite the Federal Reserve raising interest rates in an attempt to cool off inflation.

Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union, stated, “Employers may be adding fewer workers monthly, but they are holding onto the ones they have and paying higher wages given the competitive labor market.”

What does 2024 have in store for the Charlotte housing market?

The Charlotte metro area was projected as one of the top markets in the country coming into 2023. It’s still in the top 10 markets in country, but it’s not projected as the top market in 2024. Why?

Zillow senior economist Orphe Divounguy shed some light on the subject. Divounguy stated, “We’re really looking at demand relative to supply, and if demand grows much faster than supply, you have a lot more competition among homebuyers. And you have a hot housing market.”

Divounguy also projected the median home price in the Charlotte metro area will appreciate and reach an average value of around $368,000. She also touted local job growth, and said, “We’re seeing a lot of new jobs being created in Charlotte, and that translates to higher housing demand. And of course, supply is barely keeping up, right? So we have a lot of competition for potential homebuyers.”

However the amount of existing homes for sale will continue to be a challenge. Charlotte also dipped in rankings due to affordability concerns. Markets like Buffalo and Cincinnati sell a bit quicker because homes there are at a slightly lower price point.

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