October may have just debuted, but for mortgage interest rate watchers, Halloween-style chills were already in evidence last week. For home buyers and sellers, the home loan outlook has been uniformly rosy for an unexpectedly long time. It’s been a long, pleasant cruise. That was why, for many, the midweek news must have come as a shock. For those who have been long lulled into an uninterrupted expectation that area rates will remain mired in Low-LowLand territory, last Wednesday’s headlines must have been jolting:
Mortgage demand falls as rates rise to highest level since July – CNBC
By Thursday, even institutions like Freddie Mac had joined the chorus. Freddie’s headline, “Mortgage Rates Jump Above Three Percent,” was followed by fright-inducing Halloween-like details (“…Many factors led to this increase…We expect mortgage rates to continue to rise…”).
For buyers who had been content to wait until next year before beginning house-hunting in earnest, this might have been a fortuitous wake-up call. If mortgage interest rates really do begin a steady climb to more traditional heights, taking advantage of them while they are still pegged at advantageous levels could, in hindsight, prove to be a financially adroit move.
For the moment, it proved to be only a wake-up call because of what happened next—a move that most of the rate-watching media had apparently not foreseen. Last Friday’s Fox Business headline said it all: “30-Year Mortgage Rates Dip Back Below 3%.” They were echoed by Business Insider’s = explanatory, “Low inflation means low rates”—followed by a nerve-quieting prediction: “…and they will probably stay low for the rest of 2021.”