The Big Game Prediction! Interest Rate Prediction!

Posted February 5, 2024 in Real Estate Trends

Scott Hogan, Clark County WA real estate agent

Predicting the outcome of the Big Game or the Fed’s setting of interest rates is setting yourself up for possible embarrassment! I don’t have the slightest clue on the 49ers and Chiefs—the game is February 11. It’s just as hard on interest rates. For this column, I’ll stick to the latter.

The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank left rates unchanged at their January 31 meeting. They are likely to cut rates at the May 1 meeting, and may even do so at their March 20 meeting. People used to tracking the Fed know that the Chair’s comments mean a lot. In this case, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said after the meeting, ”it will likely be appropriate to begin dialing back policy restraint at some point this year.”

What is the Fed waiting for? Inflation to get down to 2% (which is getting closer and closer as some prices fall), or unemployment to get higher than the historically low 3.7%. Personally, I’m rooting for lower inflation instead of higher unemployment.

Remember, the Fed doesn’t directly set mortgage interest rates—it’s just that their moves have an influence on the rates that homebuyers pay. Which brings up the complicated nature of watching and waiting in the real estate market: when interest rates drop, the demand on the buyer side increases, increasing the upward pressure on prices. A savvy buyer will balance what they can afford now and factor in the fact that they may be able to refinance later to a lower rate after taking advantage of a market with fewer buyers. If you can afford the payment, there may be reasons to act sooner than later.

More complicated than Taylor Swift’s love life? Yes. That’s why you need advisors you can trust. We’ve been fortunate to work with some of the best Realtors and lenders in town, who can pre-qualify you now so you know what you can afford, discuss the homes currently available, and give details regarding how refinancing works after the predicted lowering of rates happens.

If you need answers to any of these questions, please reach out to the professionals at Clark County Title. We don’t quote mortgage rates or sell houses, but we know people who do. Our role is to be a neutral, third party to help all parties get what they bargained for, and accomplish their goal of buying, selling, or refinancing. Everyone benefits from the care, knowledge and expertise we bring to your important transaction.

Did you catch the part about neutral third party? Go Chiefs! Go 49ers! Enjoy the game!

From your friends at Clark County Title,