How The Looming Interest Rate Hike Affects The Portland Sizzling Housing Market

Dated: December 16 2015

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There's an interest rate hike likely coming from the Federal Reserve as early as this week, but it's not likely to impact the hot housing market in Portland in the immediate future.

That's according to Matthew Gardner, national chief economist for Windermere Real Estate, who said mortgage rates will likely rise as a result of the hike but not overnight

Though a rise in interest rates is expected as early as this week, homebuyers in Portland aren't likely to be deterred from buying in 2016 — assuming they can find homes to buy.

"The Fed Funds Rate is important, but it does not have a direct correlation to mortgage rates," he said. "Any increase in it does not mean that interest rates will move in lock-step. What I do see is a gradual increase in mortgage rates over the next 24 months, but I do not expect interest rates to leap immediately."

Gardner said mortgage rates are likely to remain below 4 percent for the early part of 2016, but they could tick up to 4.5 percent or higher by the summer. Compared to the 13 percent average of the 1980s or even the 8 percent of the 1990s, that's still a decent deal.

Gardner said that, while the rise in rates is "no great cause for alarm," there will likely be a slowing to price appreciation as a result.

Real estate firm Zillow released a survey today that showed that the rise in rates isn't likely to deter most homebuyers. According to the company, 70 percent of current buyers will continue with their plans to buy even if the rates rise to 4.5 percent.

More buyers, about 74 percent, were concerned with being able to find affordable housing.

Zillow noted that In Portland the monthly mortgage payment on the median home would go up by $35 a month if mortgage rates rose to 4.25 percent, assuming a 30-year fixed rate mortgage and a 20 percent downpayment.

According to the latest figures from the Regional Multiple Listing Service, the average sale price in the Portland metro region through November 2015 was up to $353,400, a 6 percent increase over last year. Pending and closed sales are also up over last year, 23 percent and 20 percent, respectively, and new listings are up about 9 percent.


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Mark Ross

For Mark Ross, founder of Ross NW Real Estate and professional real estate broker, real estate has always been the career of choice. During his 25+ years in the industry, Mark has gained experience in....

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