Utahns face higher mortgage rates ahead of spring buying season

Feb 23, 2024, 4:05 PM | Updated: 6:33 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — After a welcome dip in mortgage rates, they’re going back up.

In just a few weeks, rates have risen above 7%, according to Mortgage News Daily – their highest levels since the middle of December.

That’s making it more expensive to borrow money to buy a house.

Dejan Eskic, housing analyst at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, said you can thank inflation for the increase. New data on that has fueled economic uncertainty, pushing mortgage rates higher.

“We’ve seen a lot of volatility,” Eskic said, noting rates had hit 8% in October before falling.

Al Bingham, a lender at Momentum Loans, told KSL TV business has slowed recently as rates have risen.

Al Bingham is a lender at Momentum Loans. (KSL TV)

“It’s more challenging,” Bingham said.

He said buyers at today’s rates are paying a lot more, “somewhere around $150, $200 a month higher” on a typical house, than they would have just a few weeks ago.

“We’ve probably – in the last 30, 45 days – lost probably $30,000, $40,000 in purchasing power just from the increase in interest rates,” Bingham said. “It’s quite a bit.”

The jump in mortgage rates comes right before the spring buying season is about to start. But Eskic, the housing analyst, is not panicking.

“I think people have accepted that mortgage rates are here to stay,” he said.

Eskic actually expects more supply of homes for sale this year. Looking further into 2024, he doesn’t think rates will stay this high.

“Right now,” Eskic said, “the expectation is that they will fall.”

Graham Dewart and his wife are about to buy a house after a long two years of looking. They close in 20 days.

Graham Dewart just purchased a home. (KSL TV)

“We have it marked on the calendar,”Dewart, who lives in Salt Lake City, said. “So we’re thinking about it every day.”

It’s an exciting and nerve-wracking time.

“We’re scared,” Dewart said. “We’re wondering if we made the right decision.”

But at least on their mortgage, they scored pretty big with an approved rate of 6.1%. That’s a lot less than the current mortgage rate of 7.08%.

Dewart feels lucky he’s getting the rate he is. After a long house hunt, he’s excited to close this chapter and open the next.

“The house that we found is what we wanted,” Dewart said.

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Utahns face higher mortgage rates ahead of spring buying season