Housing Health: Coronavirus Impacts Mortgage Rates

The coronavirus has already affected economic sectors like the stock market, energy, shipping and travel. Now it's happening with the housing market, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. The latest Mortgage Bankers Association report says falling mortgage rates due to coronavirus concerns have caused a surge in refinances. Total refinancing applications jumped 26% in the past week, with refinance volume up 224% from a year ago. This as the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to its lowest level in more than seven years.

The Houston housing market was off to a strong start in 2020, but the coronavirus hysteria is giving pause to some realtors. "You don't ever want to think that a virus that's going around the world is going to affect the housing market, but I never in a million years would have ever thought the stock market would take the hit it is taking over the coronavirus," says Michael Weaster with Houston's Graham Realty.

Weaster is particularly concerned about a drop in demand for houses due to potential job losses from coronavirus. "For companies that do business overseas that are affected (by supply chain issues), there could be layoffs coming," he says. And it is definitely going to affect the housing market if that does happen."

But as mentioned earlier, the news isn't necessarily bad. The lower mortgage interest rates are a great opportunity for those looking to buy or refinance a home. "I know that the refinance market is strong," says Weaster. "All of the people I do business with in the mortgage industry are talking about how busy they are."

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