Record High Median Income for New Homebuyers
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median household income for homebuyers has surged to a record high amid rising home prices and elevated mortgage rates. The NAR’s 2023 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reveals that households purchasing homes between July 2022 and June 2023 had a median income of $107,000, a significant increase from the previous year’s $88,000. This marks buyers’ highest household income level since 1981, when the NAR began tracking the data. In response to reduced housing affordability, well-off homebuyers secured bids by offering larger down payments or paying in cash, pushing the median income for successful homebuyers above six figures.
The study also highlights a notable increase in down payments, reaching recent highs during the latest timeframe. First-time buyers made up 32% of all homebuyers, a rise from the previous year’s historic low of 26%. Although still below the historical average of 38%, this increase suggests a positive trend. The first-time buyers entering the market this year had higher household incomes—nearly $25,000 more than the previous year—and were more likely to utilize financial assets such as stocks, bonds, pensions, 401(k)s, IRAs, or cryptocurrency sales for their down payments.
Inflation Drop Fuels Further Mortgage Rate Decline
The average rate for a 30-year mortgage dropped by 18 basis points to 7.40% on Tuesday, driven by a significant bond market rally following a lower-than-expected monthly inflation report. Wall Street’s reduced expectations for future Federal Reserve rate hikes also contributed to the decline. Mortgage rates, which tend to follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury, had already decreased from recent highs, experiencing fluctuations in response to the Federal Reserve’s decision to maintain rates and a weaker-than-anticipated monthly employment report.
The 30-year fixed mortgage rate, which had surged to over 8% on October 19, the highest level in over two decades, witnessed a subsequent drop of around 25 basis points in the first week of November. It started the current week at 7.58%. While recent rate increases have been within a 1-percentage-point range, the contrast with rates from two years ago, when they were around 3%, has heightened sensitivity among today’s homebuyers. Some are finding it challenging to afford homes or qualify for mortgages, leading to a decline in home sales for several months. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, suggests that the era of interest rate hikes may be over, anticipating a possible decline in mortgage rates towards 7% in the coming months and into the 6% range by spring 2024.
MBA Weekly Survey Nov. 15: Rise in Mortgage Applications
Mortgage applications rose by 2.8% in the week ending November 10, 2023, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. The Market Composite Index, reflecting mortgage loan application volume, increased by 2.8% on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to the previous week. The Refinance Index saw a 2% increase, marking a 7% rise from the same week a year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index grew by 3%, but the unadjusted Purchase Index decreased by 0.3% compared to the previous week. Despite recent declines, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate remained at 7.61%, posing challenges for potential homebuyers and existing homeowners.
The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 31.9% of total applications, with the adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share decreasing to 8.8%. The FHA share fell to 14.4%, while the VA share increased to 11.2%. The USDA share remained unchanged at 0.5%. Average contract interest rates for various mortgage types fluctuated, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 7.61%, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage at 6.94%, and the 5/1 ARM at 6.65%. Despite the recent uptick in activity, mortgage rates at current levels continue to present challenges for homebuyers and homeowners.
Vaimberg, Ron. “Weekly Newsletter – January 6, 2023.” Ron Vaimberg International, Ron Vaimberg, 6 Jan. 2023, https://rvionline.thinkific.com/courses/take/rvi-weekly-newsletter/texts/41523497-weekly-newsletter-january-6-2023.