Last Time Rates Were 6.51%, Homes Were Half the Price

Number of the Day: The most relevant or interesting figure in personal finance

$1,062

That’s how much more a typical homebuyer must pay each month now than the last time 30-year mortgage rates were this high—all because of higher home prices.

In 2009, our estimate of the last time the average 30-year mortgage rate was as high as the 6.51% it reached Tuesday, U.S. homes sold at a median price of $181,300, making the monthly mortgage payment $918. But now the median home price is $391,200, so that same interest rate of 6.51%—the result of a more than 1 percentage point increase in only two weeks, according to our lender data—would push a monthly payment to $1,980. And that’s just for the mortgage, not including things like insurance and taxes. 

The combination of spiraling home prices and the Federal Reserve’s campaign to lower inflation by hiking its benchmark interest rate means house hunters who need a mortgage have to weigh a much larger payment. In fact, the typical mortgage payment has ballooned so much since the ultra-low mortgage rates we saw during the pandemic that many would-be homebuyers are giving up on buying. Fortunately, that’s a trend that may eventually ease the pace of price increases, analysts say.

(Although our lender data data only goes back to 2020, other measures of rates suggest we last saw the 30-year mortgage as expensive as its recent high back in 2009.) 

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