Higher Interest Rates Will Probably Slow Housing in 1H17

The recent increase in interest rates have already hit the mortgage refi market and higher rates look like it may be a headwind to the overall housing market in the first half of next year. 30-year mortgage rates have increased from 3.71% at the end of September to 4.38% as of the beginning of December. The weekly mortgage applications refinance index has subsequently fallen by nearly 39% to 1459 during this time. The real cause for concern, however, could come in 2017 has housing prices may stall out. There is a pretty strong relationship between the NAHB Housing Market Index and the Case/Shiller Home Price Index. Additionally, interest rates tend to lead the NAHB Housing Market Index by about six months. With the increase in interest rates, we are looking at a possible slowdown in the NAHB Housing Market Index in the first half of 2017 which would most likely signal a slowdown in the year-over-year change in house prices as well.