5 housing trends for the next 3 months

Mortgage rates are likely to rise
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Many mortgage experts and economists believe mortgage rates will be higher in three months than they are now. That's not a unanimous opinion, though.

"In the next three months, I don't expect anything to happen," says economist Joel Naroff, principal for Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pa. (CK) But over the next year, he's almost certain interest rates will be higher across the board.

Naroff doesn't rule out higher mortgage rates during the traditional homebuying season.

"We are in an extraordinarily artificial rate environment," he says. "How long we can stay here I don't know." But when rates rise, they will do so rapidly and unexpectedly, he adds.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's latest forecast has the 30-year fixed rising from an average of 5 percent in this year's first quarter to 5.4 percent in the April-through-June quarter. The MBA expects rates to keep rising all year, with zigs and zags along the way.

"I think you're going to see weeks where private investors are in and weeks when private investors step back from mortgages -- and as a result, you'll see higher rate volatility in the next couple of months," says Michael Fratantoni, vice president of research and economics for the Mortgage Bankers Association.




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