Freddie Mac’s monthly Outlook for July shows that international concerns such as slowing growth in China and the Brexit vote in the U.K. have played a major role in decreased mortgage rates. In the most recent Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.41 percent, just slightly above the all-time record low. This is likely to result in a boost in housing activity, particularly refinancing, as homeowners take advantage of the current low rates.
“With the U.K.’s decision to exit from the European Union, global risks increased substantially leading us to revise our views for the remainder of 2016 and all of 2017,” says Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Becketti.” Nonetheless, the turbulence abroad should continue to create demand for U.S. Treasuries and keep mortgage rates near historic lows; thereby, allowing home sales to have their best year in a decade, along with a boost in refinance activity.”
Here, the Outlook Highlights:
• Expect growth rebound in the remaining quarters of 2016 to show GDP at 1.9 and 2.2 percent in 2016 and 2017.
• In light of recent global pressures, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage forecast has been revised down for both 2016 (by 30 basis points) and 2017 (by 50 basis points) to 3.6 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively.
• Based on these low mortgage rates, expect the refinance share of originations to rise to 49 percent for 2016, 8 percentage points above last month’s forecast. This translates to about $100 billion more in originations, bringing the total for 2016 to $1,825 billion.
• With June’s much-improved employment report over May’s release, expect unemployment to average 4.9 percent in 2016 and 4.8 percent in 2017.
• The house price appreciation forecast for 2016 remains at 5.0 percent, and in 2017, 4.0 percent.