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Mortgage Rates Are High - But Why Does That Matter?

September 19, 2023 | By Mendy Rimler

Table Of Contents

Mortgage rates have hit new highs lately, and it’s putting a damper on the home-buying industry. But why? How do mortgage rates work, and why are higher rates such a big issue?

How Do Mortgage Interest Rates Work?

At its core, a mortgage interest rate is the cost you pay for borrowing money to buy a home. It's expressed as a percentage and added to the principal loan amount. This percentage dictates how much interest you'll pay throughout your mortgage's life. Mortgage rates can fluctuate based on factors like your credit score, loan duration, and market conditions.

When you take out a mortgage, the lender provides you with a specific sum to purchase your home. In return, you commit to repaying this loan over a set period, typically 15, 20, or 30 years. The mortgage interest rate represents the lender's profit from the loan.

Here's a straightforward example: Imagine you borrow $250,000 at a 4% interest rate for 30 years. This means you'll pay 4% of the loan balance as interest annually. In the first year, that amounts to $10,000 in interest (4% of $250,000), with the remaining part of your monthly mortgage payment chipping away at the principal.

Why Do Higher Mortgage Rates Stress Home Buyers?

  • Increased Monthly Payments: Rising mortgage interest rates mean the cost of borrowing money goes up. Consequently, monthly mortgage payments become more expensive. This can be particularly stressful for first-time buyers or those with tight budgets. Higher monthly payments might limit their choice of homes or strain their finances.
  • Reduced Buying Power: Higher interest rates can reduce the loan amount buyers qualify for when applying for a mortgage. As the interest rate increases, so do monthly payments, which can lead to lower loan approval amounts. This might force buyers to compromise on their dream homes or consider properties in less ideal locations.
  • Impact on Affordability: In a rising interest rate environment, housing affordability diminishes. Even if home prices remain stable, higher mortgage rates make it more challenging for buyers to enter the market. The affordability stress can cause potential buyers to delay their homeownership dreams or explore alternative housing options.
  • Market Competition: Higher mortgage rates can make the housing market more competitive. Buyers rush to secure lower rates, leading to increased demand for homes. This competition can drive up home prices, further complicating the search for an affordable property. This heightened pressure intensifies the stress experienced by potential home buyers.

The bottom line is that higher interest rates make buying and financing a home more expensive for the average buyer. But that doesn't mean homeownership is unattainable! Working with an experienced lender can help you save time and money when it comes to getting into a new home. Reach out to Texas United Mortgage today to learn how we can help. 

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