Mortgage rates have been rising sharply over the past couple of months. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.2 percent in December, the highest of 2015 and 2016, and it appears to stay above 4 percent for a long while. Mortgage rates are still historically low, but crossing over from the 3 percent range to 4 percent range raises worries to potential homebuyers. But, should they be worried? How much can this rise of mortgage rates change their monthly payment? How does this change of monthly payments vary by county?
We calculated the monthly payment by county based on the mortgage rate prevalent a couple of months ago (3.5 percent), the rate as of early January (4.2 percent) and a higher rate likely to be seen within the next two years (5.0 percent).
Nationwide, it is estimated that the rise of mortgage rates from 3.5 to 4.2 percent increased the monthly payment by $75 while a rise from 4.2 to 5.0 percent will increase the monthly payments by $90.
But the effect depends on the location. At the high end, San Francisco homebuyers have seen a nearly $375 increase in monthly payments so far, and if rates were even higher now, financing the same-priced home would cost an extra $450 per month. At the low end, in Cochrane County, TX, home buyers are paying an extra $13 per month on account of the mortgage rate rise since November, and they could see an extra $16 per month as rates rise to 5 percent. At this end of the spectrum, the change in monthly payments seems much more manageable.
However, these examples only use the current price of homes to see the difference. In the years ahead, NAR expects that the 30 year fixed-rate will increase to 4.4 percent in 2017 and 4.8 percent in 2018 while home prices are expected to rise 3.9 and 3.2 percent, accordingly. Rising prices in addition to rising mortgage rates will push the monthly cost of housing up even higher for new homebuyers. Existing homeowners will have the same monthly payment for those who took out fixed rate mortgage.
Select a County from the dropdown and see how much monthly payments change over the different mortgage rates:
Nationwide, it looks like monthly mortgage payment will be affected mostly in the following counties:
 The U.S. median home value matches the county prices calculations. For comparisons purposes, the calculated median home value reflects all homes while NAR’s U.S. median price represents home sales. Thus, the calculated price ($207,566) is expected to be lower than NAR’s home value ($239,500). Please see Methodology for more details.
Copyright NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.