Mortgage Rates Push Higher While Home Prices Drop

Mortgage rates continue to rise as the spring market heats up. But in a ray of good news, home prices are falling.

Mortgage rates continued their punishing ascent above 7%, adding to homebuyers’ woes this spring.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed home loan rose from 7.10% to 7.17% for the week ending April 25, according to Freddie Mac.

“Mortgage rates continued rising this week,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Despite rates increasing more than half a percent since the first week of the year, purchase demand remains steady.”

Homebuyers ready to throw up their hands and give up their home search can take solace in one bright data point: Home prices fell for the week ending April 20.

“This past week, the prices for homes on the market slipped by a little more than 1%, making this the largest absolute change in home prices in the past 14 weeks,” says® Chief Economist Danielle Hale in her most recent analysis.

Here’s a complete rundown of the latest real estate market data to give homebuyers and sellers insight into the real estate market in this latest installment of “How’s the Housing Market This Week?”

Mortgage Rates Are a ‘Wild Card’

The housing market continues to be centered on one extremely volatile number: mortgage rates.

“Mortgage rates continue to be a wild card,” explains Hale. “Although they topped 7% for the first time in 2024 last week, they are in territory that was charted last fall when rates approached 8%.”

Rates affect more than buyers—they also trickle down to all other aspects of the housing market. While sellers are putting more homes on the market for the week ending April 20 compared with the year prior, a further rise in mortgage rates could cause that number to fall.

“Nearly three-quarters of potential sellers are also trying to buy a home,” explains Hale. That means potential sellers might want to hang on to their existing homes—and low mortgage rates—while they can.

What’s more, stubborn mortgage rates seem all but guaranteed for the near future.

“The Freddie Mac fixed rate for a 30-year mortgage continued to climb as the battle to tame inflation proved to be harder and longer than many initially expected,” says economist Jiayi Xu. “Looking ahead, mortgage rates are expected to continue to be higher before stabilizing.”

Median Home Prices Soften

Home prices fell 1.1% for the week ending April 20 compared with the same week last year. Whether this is a lasting trend remains to be seen. (Listing prices hit a median of $424,900 nationwide in March.)

“This could be a one-week blip, or it could reflect the effects of the influx of smaller, lower-priced homes that we’ve seen come to the market for sale, particularly in the South,” says Hale. “Smaller, more affordable listings are taking the pressure off of the overall median price, which is good news for shoppers looking for these types of homes.”

Another explanation for the drop in median prices could be that sellers have come to grips with the current market realities where competition has eased, and so they are pricing homes to compete.

“Buyers may find that sellers are more open to negotiation compared to the previous year,” says Xu. “As a result, buyers are encountering a higher share of homes undergoing price reductions this spring compared to usual for this time of year, though the trend may vary by local markets.”

Inventory Continues To Rise

New listings continue to bring a dash of hope to weary homebuyers battling affordability challenges.

Fresh listings rose by 13.5% for the week ending April 20 compared with a year ago.

“Since February, the number of homes newly listed for sale has surpassed the pace of a year ago by double digits, with the exception of a few weeks around this year’s spring holidays,” says Hale.

Overall inventory is up as well, with 31.7% more homes for sale for the week ending April 20 compared with the previous year. This marks 24 weeks with a higher number of homes listed for sale compared with the year before.

While some sellers might be averse to high mortgage rates and choose not to list, others may simply face the mortgage music.

“There’s a long buildup to listing–80% have been thinking about selling for 1 to 3 years–could mean that this year’s sellers are less deterred by market fluctuations,” says Hale.

The Spring Market Is in Full Swing

Homes spent the same number of days on the market for the week ending April 20 as they did for the same time in 2023. (In March, homes spent a median of 50 days on the market.)

This metric proves yet again that buyers are out there and ready to pounce when they find the perfect home. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, pending home sales grew 3.4% in March 2024.

“The amount of time a home sits for sale is also about 12 days less than what was typical in 2017 to 2019 at this time of year,” says Hale. “With 37.9% fewer homes for sale compared with 2017 to 2019, it’s not surprising to see the market moving faster, though this does vary from market to market.”