Signs and Trends from a USDA Housing Finance Product
There have been numerous business and media reports on the slowdown in homebuying and mortgage activity in recent months. This market response is largely related to recent interest rate increases for 30-year fixed mortgages spurred by the Federal Reserve raising its benchmark rates. According to some estimates, the rate of mortgage applications nationally fell by half in 2022. Are mortgage markets behaving similarly in rural America too? Data from the Department of Agriculture (USDA) on its Guaranteed Home Loan product signals that rural homebuyers hit the brakes in 2022 as well. In the last fiscal year, USDA loan guarantees plummeted by more than 40 percent from their 2021 level and dropped well below the 100,000-loan mark to guarantee 72,000 loans.
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