A quaint home with a for sale sign in the yard.

Current Interest Rates and Housing Affordability

The recent surge in demand for homes has led to a rapid increase in prices across the country. This has left many many wondering if buying a home is still possible with interest rates on the rise.

Despite the upward trend of rates, it’s important to consider their historical context. Even with the recent uptick, 6-7% rates remain historically low. As a result, homeownership is still achievable for many Americans.

In this article, we’ll examine the current state of housing affordability in light of interest rates. We’ll take a closer look at the fluctuation of interest rates over time and how they’re determined in the market. Additionally, we’ll delve into the determination of housing affordability and the feasibility of homeownership in the current market. Finally, we’ll explore potential future changes in interest rates and what they could mean for those looking to purchase a home.

It’s crucial to understand the relationship between interest rates and housing affordability to make informed decisions about purchasing a home. This is true regardless of whether you’re a first-time buyer or an experienced investor. So, let’s delve into the current state of the housing market.

Historical interest rates

Interest rates have played a crucial role in the housing market for many years. Their historical context reveals significant fluctuations over time.

Looking back, Freddie Mac data shows that rates peaked in 1981, with an average of 16.63%. However, individual rates varied based on factors such as location, credit score, and lender. At that time, some borrowers experienced rates as high as 18-20%. In contrast, rates reached historic lows in the 2010s through 2022, with some lenders offering rates below 3%.

Currently, interest rates for home loans are hovering around 6-7%. This is higher than in recent years but still relatively low when compared to historical rates. The impact of interest rates on the housing market in the past has been significant. 

High rates make it more expensive to borrow money to purchase a home. This leads to a decrease in demand and potentially causes home prices to fall. Conversely, low rates make it more affordable to borrow money, resulting in an increase in demand and potentially higher home prices.

Additionally, rates can influence the types of loans available to borrowers. For instance, when rates are low, adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) may become more popular. These types of loans offer lower rates for a set period before potentially adjusting upward.

Two small model homes with a percentage sign, demonstrating the concept of mortgage interest rates.

Current interest rates

Despite being slightly higher than the historic lows seen in recent years, current rates remain low compared to historical rates. This means homeownership is still quite feasible for many Americans. As of April 20, 2023, the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was around 6.96%. And for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, around 6.30%.

Interest rates are determined by various factors, including inflation, economic growth, and supply and demand for money. The Federal Reserve plays a critical role in setting interest rates through its monetary policy decisions. In times of economic struggle, the Federal Reserve may lower interest rates to encourage borrowing and stimulate economic growth. Conversely, in periods of rapid economic growth, the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates to help prevent inflation.

Is homeownership still affordable?

Many Americans find homeownership more feasible than ever, thanks to the current interest rates. With rates hovering around 6-7%, it’s an excellent time to take advantage of the low rates and buy a home.

Lower interest rates provide significant benefits, including lower monthly mortgage payments and increased affordability. For instance, a 2% decrease on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for a $350,000 home could save homeowners up to $110,000. This can have a considerable impact on monthly payments and overall affordability.

Besides the financial benefits, homeownership offers a range of other advantages. Firstly, it enables individuals to accumulate equity in their property over time. This can provide a financial cushion and potential source of wealth.

Secondly, homeownership provides stable housing costs. This is especially beneficial during periods of economic uncertainty or when rental prices fluctuate.

A person holding a holographic image of a graph demonstrating the concept of rising interest rates

What the future holds

Although interest rates are currently at a low, it’s essential to consider the possibility of future changes. While it’s impossible to know what the future holds, industry experts generally anticipate interest rates to rise in the coming years.

Higher interest rates may impact the housing market in several ways. For instance, they may reduce affordability for potential homebuyers. This can make it more challenging for them to qualify for mortgages or meet monthly payments. As a result, we could see a decrease in home sales as well as a potential drop in home prices.

Nevertheless, there are measures that prospective homebuyers can take to prepare for potential changes in rates. One vital suggestion is to work with a reliable real estate professional. They can help navigate the intricacies of the market and understand the implications of changes in rates.


Having a good grasp of the historical background of interest rates and their influence on the housing market is crucial to making well-informed decisions about homeownership. Despite the fluctuations in rates over time, the present rates are still remarkably low and offer an opportunity for many Americans to become homeowners. By thoughtfully weighing factors like housing affordability, monthly mortgage payments, and potential fluctuations in interest rates, prospective homebuyers can make wise choices when it comes to purchasing a home.

1 Percent Lists CSRA is dedicated to guiding our clients through the intricacies of the housing market and assisting them in locating their ideal home. With our extensive knowledge of North Augusta homes and our unwavering commitment to providing top-notch service, we are certain that we can assist you in finding the ideal home that meets your requirements and budget. 

Whether you are a first-time buyer or a seasoned investor, our team is ready to provide you with the necessary support. Contact us today to discover how we can help you realize your homeownership aspirations.