Unsurprisingly since the Federal Reserve announced its calming approach to quiet interest rates at its recent meeting, mortgage interest rates on a 30-fixed rate loan dropped from November’s 4.40% rate to 4.34% in mid-March. This 4.40% rate represents the lowest interest rate in over one year and 19 basis points lower than one year ago.
(Every 25 basis point drop means a savings of $50/month for a mortgage payment. This current rate is now 75 basis points down from November 2018 and translates into a $150/month savings for a mortgage payment on a typical $300,000 home.)
According to Mathew Graham, CEO of the Mortgage Daily News, “This is about as big a change as anyone expected. It means that the Fed will be buying more bonds more quickly. And bond buying results in lower (interest) rates, all other things being equal.”
This drop in interest rates helps potential homebuyers as well as current homeowners who might choose to benefit from a refinance loan. The only problem with this interest rate drop is that it signals that the economy is weakening. According to Danielle Hale, chief economist with realtor.com, “While a plus for homebuyers, if concerns about our economic outlook rattle the confidence of builders and homebuyers, (this drop in interest rates) could offset any benefits gleaned from lower mortgage rates.”
All this being said, does this drop in interest rates mean that potential sellers ought to list their homes now? According to realtor.com, the answer is “Yes.” Looking at last year’s data, homes that were listed during the first – third weeks of April generated +14% more online views than at other times and those April-listed houses were likely to see approximately 6 days faster than homes listed at other times of the year. Realtor.com also indicated that homes sold in April tended to be prices +6% higher than in January 2019, thus adding an additional $17,000 more for sellers.
Separately, realtor.com indicted that the best time to list a home in New York, Chicago and Dallas was on March 31. The best time to list a house in Atlanta and Seattle was on April 1. And the best time to list a house in Seattle or Los Angeles was April 14. Homes in Tampa and Phoenix tended to favor early June listing dates.
Zillow, on the other hand, believes the best time to list a home anywhere in the country is during the first two weeks of May. Newly listed homes on Saturdays tend to get more page views, according to Zillow.
Real estate agents, on the other hand, suggest that listing a house on a Thursday generates the most views as people plan their weekend viewing/open house schedules.