NEW YORK (MainStreet) Economists and housing experts are predicting a lackluster real estate market over the next several years, a new survey says.
According to Zillow's Home Price Expectations Survey, which polled 104 experts, rising mortgage rates is expected to slow the housing market. The panelists polled expect 30-year fixed mortgage rates to reach 5.3% in two years. Last week, Freddie Mac said such rates average 4.12%, compared to 4.40% at this time last year. Some 62% said higher rates would have a "somewhat negative" or "significantly negative" impact on the volume of homes purchased.
Mortgage rates are expected to rise largely on the heels of two factors relating to the Federal Reserve. First, the central bank's bond stimulus, known as quantitative easing, which has kept interest rates low in order to spur economic investment, will end in October. That's expected to cause rates on the 10-year Treasury bond to rise, as investors flock towards bonds, since the end of quantitative easing isn't expected to bode well for stocks. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions. The 10-year Treasury is the benchmark rate that determines mortgage and auto rates.
Secondly, the fed funds rate, which banks use to lend to each other, is expected to rise at some point next year, after remaining near zero since December 2008. Higher costs for banks are expected to eventually make its way to the consumer.
As for prices, economists in the survey said home prices are expected to end 2014 up 4.6%, but won't eclipse their 2007 high until the end of 2017. Some 85% of the panel predicts the median age of a first-time homebuyer to rise to 32 or higher over the next ten years. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median age stood at 31 last year.