Mortgage rates are falling
The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell for the fourth straight week, to 6.33%, according to Freddie Mac. It's a big retreat since rates went over 7% during early November.
Why it matters: The long stretch of declines is a sign that inflation worries are easing, as the Federal Reserve is expected to start slowing its aggressive rate-hiking campaign.
- Mortgage rates could still head back up, of course — but some experts, like Mike Fratantoni, chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association, are calling the top. "We think we're now past the peak on mortgage rates," he told Market News International earlier this week.
Zoom out: With rates double their year-ago levels, this recent decline won't snap the real estate market out of its doldrums. But it's not the worst news for anyone looking to buy a home.
- Forecasters are betting on more declines next year, maybe getting back to the 5% area.
- And home prices are falling — the past three months of declines in the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index have been the steepest since the financial crisis.
What to watch: Next Tuesday, we'll see where inflation is when the Consumer Price Index for November is released.