Stephen Phillips, president of the new Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brokerage network, says he doesn’t anticipate the rates to go up any time soon, but when they do, he adds, it won’t affect everyone – or everywhere – the same way.
“The rate’s rise would be unevenly distributed across the market,” says Phillips, who has maintained his role as COO of HSF Affiliates LLC since launching the new brand for Berkshire Hathaway earlier this year.
According to Phillips, many first-time homebuyers could feel the sting of a rising mortgage interest trend as they try to get their first loans. There are many programs to help such buyers with financing, but Phillips notes that some just won’t have the flexibility within their budget and/or credit score to stretch for a mortgage requiring higher interest payments.
“The effect would be relatively strong with them,” Phillips explains.
But higher rates wouldn’t necessarily spell doom for the lower end of the American housing market. Phillips notes that there has been a flood of buyers within this segment taking advantage of the low prices, which resulted from the Great Recession and subsequent Not-So-Great Recovery. These buyers, he says, aren’t typically lower-end buyers who are stretching themselves. They’re middle- to upper-middle class investors who are snapping up homes to turn them into investment properties and take advantage of the red-hot rental markets. Even with higher interest rates, Phillips suspects this trend could continue and sustain struggling communities.