If Houses Traded Like Bonds

As the 10-year Treasury yield approaches 3 percent let’s take a look at the recent spike in mortgage rates and its micro impact on the housing market and average home buyer.

The chart below shows 30-year fixed mortgage rates have increased 122 basis points since early May.  This translates into a 17 percent increase in the monthly payment on a $300K mortgage, for example from $1,313 to $1,538 per month (see Matrix).

Though recent home sales have had a high proportion of cash buyers the monthly mortgage nut does still matter for most buyers and remains one, if not, the biggest constraint on new purchases and housing price appreciation.   For example, the $1,313 monthly payment, which supported a $300K mortgage at 3.30 percent in early May, for example, now only qualifies for a $255K mortgage.

If homes traded like bonds, which are the sum of discounted coupon and principal payments, the spike in interest rates since early May would have resulted in a 15 percent fall in home prices.   This surely is one of the reasons why the homebuilder stocks have been hit hard over the past few months.

In the past, innovation and financially engineered mortgage products such as option ARMS have limited the impact rising rates have had the housing market.   Those daze, we think, are over.  Maybe.

Sep5_Mortgage Rates

 Click on matrix to enlarge and for better resolution.

Sep5_Mortgage Matrix(click here it chart and table are not observable)

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4 Responses to If Houses Traded Like Bonds

  1. eah says:

    Mind boggling. How does one explain the fact that in the midst of what is supposedly an economic recovery people are still apparently willing to loan the US government money for 10 years — 10 years! — at 3% or less?

  2. Pingback: If Houses Traded Like Bonds | The Big Picture

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