Survey: Sub-5% interest rate would entice one-third of prospective homebuyers

New findings underscore impact of mortgage rate fluctuations

According to a new survey from, about a third of Americans hoping to buy a home in the next year would consider their goal within reach if rates fell below 5%.

Thirty-two percent of respondents to the survey, which more than 5,000 consumers participated in between Oct. 31 and Nov. 6, said that they could make buying a home work if interest rates slid under that threshold. Twenty-two percent — just over one-fifth — said they deem buying a home possible if rates dropped below 6%.

Mortgage rates, according to the latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) from Freddie Mac, are currently averaging about 6.77%. They’ve recently risen after Consumer Price Index data revealed that inflation rose more than expected in January, though their general trajectory has shown a downward bent since the Federal Reserve has eased off its rate-hiking policy late last year.

“Small changes in mortgage rates indeed have an outsized impact on monthly mortgage payments. For first-time homebuyers, if mortgage rates drop in the [5% range], that will boost their purchasing power. For a lot of repeat buyers who already own a home, the lower rates go, the less of a jump they will take in their mortgage payments,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist at

“Mortgage rates are down more than a whole percentage point from their peak,” Hale added. “For the same monthly payment, you can afford to purchase a more expensive home or you have a lower monthly payment at the same home price. Either way, it’s a win for the homebuyer.”

That’s not to say that the current rate environment — or even the recent zenith of interest rates — is a deal breaker for homebuyers. Obviously, the high rate environment has made a significant impact. But 47% of millennials would still buy a home even if mortgage rates exceed 8% again, according to’s survey. So would 37% of Gen Z.

Young buyers are also the most optimistic, according to’s survey, with almost half of Gen Z buyers indicating that they expect to be able to afford a home in the next five years, compared with 32%  of millennials, 36% of Gen Xers and 26% of baby boomers.

“It makes sense that younger buyers are more optimistic,” Hale said. “There are certainly more challenges; they tend to have lower incomes and lower savings. But they’ve also got a lot of life in front of them. With incomes now outpacing inflation, we’re looking at real increases in their purchasing power.”


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