Many home-buyers have been standing on the sidelines since the housing market went into a downward spiral in 2007. But now with mortgage rates still low and unemployment inching downward, the housing market is seeing renewed activity, although still nowhere near normal.
Bankrate consulted with real estate and mortgage experts to come up with five trends in housing for this spring.
Here are three things you can expect to see if you’re currently looking to buy a home:
- Mortgage rates are rising. The Mortgage Bankers Association says that rates for 30-year fixed mortgages will rise to about 4.3% by summer, up from below 4% currently. Still, that’s a far cry from the 6% and 7% rates common just five years ago. Analysts say rates are unlikely to jump significantly as long as concerns over the economy — like high unemployment — linger.
- Buyers are coming back to the market. During the slump, many potential home-buyers opted to wait, looking for further mortgage rate and property price declines. Now, with rates having likely bottomed and confidence in the economy rising, home sales are up. Surveys of renters show the percentage of tenants who intend to renew their leases this year have hit the lowest rate since 2009.
- Refinancing is easier. If you have a Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured mortgage, a new program that kicks off in June makes it easier and cheaper to refinance. The new program only applies to FHA-insured loans made prior to June 2009 and only to homeowners who are current with their mortgage payments. A second program — the Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP 2.0 — will launch this spring to help homeowners with Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-owned mortgages refinance. Like the FHA program, only mortgages finalized by June 2009, whose payments are current, will qualify.
For Bankrate’s full list of five housing trends for spring, click here.