Mortgage rates could reach 8%, Worrying sign not seen since the Great Recession

With mortgage rates firmly above 7%, homeownership has become much more expensive. But will rates go even higher?

Three experts told MarketWatch that if the economy continues to show signs of strength, and the U.S. Federal Reserve hikes its benchmark interest rate once again, rates could go up to 8%.

High rates have already taken a toll on the U.S. housing market. Even home builders, who have in recent months experienced strong demand from homebuyers, are reporting a drop in buyer traffic as those rising rates rattle their customers.

But experts also stressed that the U.S. economy is showing early signs of cooling, and that the rate of inflation is easing. That could lead to a slowdown — or even a drop — in mortgage rates. But such forecasts are not a guarantee, as Tuesday’s stronger-than-expected U.S. retail sales figures suggested.

Even though the 30-year fixed mortgage rate was averaging 7.26% as of Tuesday evening, the highest level since November 2022, economists say rates could go up further.

The 30-year is “at a critical stage,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, told MarketWatch. “If the 30-year-fixed mortgage rate can hold at a high mark of 7.2% — and the 10-year yield holds at 4.2% — then this would be the high for mortgage rates before retreating,” Yun said.

“If it breaks this line and easily goes above 7.2%, then the mortgage rate reaches 8%.” As of Tuesday afternoon, the 10-year Treasury note BX:TMUBMUSD10Y was above 4.2%.

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