Good news: mortgage rates should not take off

Mortgage rates should remain stable

On the front of mortgage rates, the beginning of the year looks rather calm, according to brokers. Banks, which have ambitious targets for 2018, have no interest in increasing their rates.

Who would have thought that a record of transactions would have been established in a presidential election year, a period usually calm? Not many people. And yet, that’s what happened: close to one million transactions are expected to be completed in 2017. Interest rates, which turned out to be much lower than expected, largely explain this result. After a historic low of 1.31% average for a 20-year loan in November 2016, the average all durations combined had a small start to reach 1.57% in August, according to the Housing Credit Observatory. Since then, rates have not increased and are even falling to 1.51% last December. A level higher than 1.38% recorded a year earlier but much higher than 2.1 or 2.2% posted in 2015 and 2016.

At the beginning of last year, real estate brokers were in full swing. Fearing a rise in rates, the French had rushed to their banker to subscribe or renegotiate a mortgage. An increase that did not take place. A year later, it should be calm, according to professionals. For most of them, the rates will not go up. In any case, not as brutally as potential borrowers fear.

Banks are looking to remain attractive to start this year in the best conditions, in a context that will undoubtedly be less favorable than in 2017. We can assume in particular that it will be difficult to beat or even approaching the record sales of Last year. For Maël Bernier, Meilleurtaux, “no threat of a sharp rise in rates is to be feared.” “Banks have no interest in blocking the market by raising rates significantly. Real estate is their only product of appeal to capture new customers. In addition, their margins remain comfortable. ”

A major decision on January 12

Raising rates, for example by 0.5 points (increase in monthly payments by 70 euros), “would have a much more serious psychological effect” than leaving them unchanged or increasing them by 0.1 or 0.2 points (increase in monthly payments between 14 and 28 euros), according to her. Such an increase would, in fact, lead to rates in excess of 2%. A symbolic bar that has not been reached for about two years.

Same observation at Empruntis. The real estate broker has found that the month of January presents a similar rate barometer to that of December. “The rates on 15 and 20 years, the most requested by borrowers, are generally stable, says Cécile Roquelaure, director of studies of Empruntis. Banks are still waiting: they are waiting to see how the demand will evolve with the new market conditions (PTZ, APL accession, real estate prices …) “.

But the situation could, however, evolve according to a decision of the Constitutional Council: on January 12, the Sages of the Royal Palace will decide in favor or not of the annual cancellation of the credit insurance for the credits subscribed before February 22, 2017. A major issue for banks.

George Peterson