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  • Writer's pictureAshton Acree

How Global Uncertainty Is Impacting Mortgage Rates

If you're thinking about buying or selling a home, watch what's happening with mortgage rates before deciding. Rates have been climbing in recent months, especially since January of this year. Just a few weeks ago, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate from Freddie Mac approached 4% for the first time since May of 2019. But that climb has dropped slightly over the past few weeks (see graph below):

The recent decline in mortgage rates is primarily due to growing uncertainty around Russia and Ukraine's geopolitical tensions, as experts expected.

Here's a look at how industry leaders are explaining the impact global uncertainty has on mortgage rates:

Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, says:

While mortgage rates trended upward in 2022, one unintended side effect of global uncertainty is that it often results in downward pressure on mortgage rates.

In another interview, Kushi adds:

Geopolitical events play an important role in impacting the long end of the yield curve and mortgage rates. For example, in the weeks following the 'Brexit' vote in 2016, the U.S. Treasury bond yield declined and led to a corresponding decline in mortgage rates.

Kushi's insights are a reminder that, historically, economic uncertainty can impact the 10-year treasury yield – which has a long-standing relationship with mortgage rates and is often considered a leading indicator of the direction rates are headed. Events overseas can impact mortgage rates here, and that's what we're seeing today.

Will Mortgage Rates Stay Down?

While no one can predict what will happen with rates in the future, experts agree this slight decline is temporary. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, echoes Kushi's sentiment but adds that the decrease in rates won't last:

Geopolitical tensions caused U.S. Treasury yields to recede this week . . . leading to a drop in mortgage rates. While inflationary pressures remain, the cascading impacts of the war in Ukraine have created market uncertainty. Consequently, rates are expected to stay low in the short-term but will likely increase in the coming months.

Rates will likely fluctuate in the short-term based on what's happening globally. Experts project rates will renew their climb. If you're in the market to buy a home, doing so before rates start to rise again will be your most affordable option.

Bottom Line

Mortgage rates are an essential piece of the puzzle because they help determine how much you'll owe on your monthly mortgage payment in your next home. In uncertain times, it's best to lean on a trusted real estate advisor for up-to-date information on rates and advice on how to time your next move.

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