Are mortgage rates starting to level off? 

In the last few years, higher mortgage rates have meant more homeowners struggling to make their repayments. Now, according to a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), mortgage rates haven’t risen any further – but it could be some time before they start to fall. 

The average rate recorded this week for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage stood at 6.93%, mirroring the previous week’s figure. Despite this consistency, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) hasn’t seen an uptick in loan applications. 

When commenting on the report, Joel Kan, MBA’s deputy chief economist, said: “Purchase applications were essentially unchanged, as homebuyers continue to hold out for lower mortgage rates and for more listings to hit the market. Lower rates should help to free up additional inventory as the lock-in effect is reduced, but we expect that will only take place gradually, as we forecast that rates will move toward 6% by the end of the year.”

One potential explanation for this trend could be the growing attractiveness of renting over purchasing. According to a recent report, renting has become more cost-effective than buying a home across all of the leading 50 U.S. housing markets.

One example of this trend is Austin, Texas. Following a surge in home prices during the pandemic, prices have now seen a steep decline but still remain substantially higher than pre-pandemic levels. 

While the cost of homeownership in Austin remains high, renting presents a much more affordable option. According to, in February, the median monthly rent payment stood at $1,530. 

On the other hand, the monthly mortgage payment including property taxes, insurance, and HOA dues, amounted to $3,695. So, purchasing a starter home in Austin costs approximately 141.5% more than renting one.’s data also indicates that rental rates in Austin decreased for the seventh consecutive month on an annual basis. In February, the median rent cost dropped annually by 0.4%, or $7, reaching a median of $1,708 per month. This figure also reflects a $4 decrease compared to January.

The most noticeable price reductions in the rental market were in the smallest units. Studio apartment rents fell by 1.5% year over year in February, settling at a median of $1,426 per month. Additionally, prices for two-bedroom units decreased by 0.8% to $1,889 per month, while one-bedroom units experienced a 0.4% dip, with the median monthly cost amounting to $1,587.

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