The year 2022 has been absolutely dreadful with respect to mortgage rates.
We’ve seen the popular 30-year fixed rise from sub-3% levels to around 7% in the matter of about 10 months.
And despite that unprecedented increase, the worse may be yet to come.
That’s if you buy into the latest remarks from National Association of Realtors (NAR) chief economist Lawrence Yun.
His belief isn’t based on a gut feeling, but rather a technical analysis.
Next Stop 8.5% for the 30-Year Fixed?
While the thought of fixed mortgage rates that high sounded impossible a few months ago, now it’s not so far out there.
During a presentation last week at the National Association of Real Estate Investors in Atlanta, Yun spoke of rates breaking through the 7% threshold.
At last glance, they are still technically below 7%, assuming we use the highly-cited Freddie Mac mortgage rate survey as our gauge.
That pinned the 30-year fixed at 6.92% during the latest week ending October 13th, though data often lags reality.
Because the survey collects mortgage rate data from loan originators between Monday and Wednesday, any rate increases midweek or beyond aren’t factored in until the following week, assuming they hold.
Anyway, that means the additional bad news of the hot CPI report wasn’t included, which pushed mortgage rates above 7% later in the week.
That, according to Yun, is a technical level of resistance, which after being broken, could lead to the next level being tested.
This is similar to stocks and other securities, which have levels of support and resistance.
If prices fall to a certain level, there might be support to stop the fall. If prices go too high, there might be resistance to go higher due to selling.
In the case of mortgage rates, there has been little support to stop the rise. And no resistance for interest rates to move higher, due to continued inflationary concerns.
And apparently after breaking through 7%, an 8.5% 30-year fixed could be the next level of resistance to be tested.
Of course, these resistance and support levels are opposing forces, and only one actually comes to fruition.
So there’s a chance mortgage rates do not go to 8.5%, and instead fall. But the fact that Yun is even raising the specter an 8.5% 30-year fixed rate is terrifying.
No One Really Knows What Will Happen Next
Yun compared support/resistance levels to two armies battling for position.
And when “one army makes a breakthrough, there’s a huge advance.” In other words, once that 7% threshold is broken, defense is weakened significantly.
This paves the way more even more advances, aka increases in mortgage rates to new, higher levels.
It’s another way of saying the trend is not our friend, with rates realizing new highs each week or month, instead of trending back to recent lows.
This has certainly been the case lately, with an unrelenting rise in rates over the past six months or longer.
Anything that seemed unimaginable a month ago has been tested, with even more unfathomable highs quickly met.
Mortgage rates are now at the highest levels since 2002, and if they were to rise to 8%, or 8.5%, it would be the first time since the year 2000.
That means the highest mortgage rates since the turn of the 21st century, and the highest in this millennium.
The good news is everyone expects inflation to get under control sooner rather than later, at which point mortgage rates will likely ease.
It means you can date the rate, so to speak, until things get better, and a refinance to a lower interest rate is possible.