Last Thursday, the Washington Post described “a holiday gift” that could find its way to the doorsteps of home seller and buyers. The Post might not have identified him by name, but there was also a hint that the Grinch could be lurking in the shadows.
Real estate writer Kathy Orton’s headline story described an unanticipated December boon “for those looking to buy or refinance a home.” It was a package that materialized in the wake of wild fluctuations in the stock market. A variety of national and international worries had combined to trigger widespread “investor anxiety.” The result a headline echoed in the Mortgage Bankers Association daily newsletter:
“Mortgage Rates Plunge to Their Lowest Level in Three Months.”
For prospective home buyers who have been hoping to lock in favorable home loan offers, the news could have seemed worthy of a scene out of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” But before that holiday standard’s joyous ending could be echoed in real life, home buyers who were slow to react might be cautioned that another Christmas classic might be called to mind before long. Realistically, the Post’s “holiday gift” could fall prey to a Grinch-like plot twist.
In this year’s real-life version, that villainous role might be played by the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee. “Markets expect another rate hike in December” according to one economist. If so, it could quickly reverse the rate slide. Already, the Post saw hints that “this recent decline may be over.”
Meantime, Danielle Hale of Realtor.com offered a prognosis that wavered midway between Dr. Seuss and Wonderful Life. “Although we don’t see it in this week’s data,” the Chief Economist said, “momentum has started to shift…”
Buying or selling homes isn’t something that’s hatched in the mind of a creative artist or Hollywood producer—but it can be influenced by plot twists like mortgage interest rate shifts. In every season, I make sure my clients stay informed of all events that impact the buying and selling of homes. When that becomes your own focus, do call me!