Inflation drives up mortgage interest rates and rents, causing housing crunch

Jason Knowles Image
Tuesday, July 26, 2022
Inflation drives up mortgage rates, rent costs
Whether you're looking to buy a home or to find a new space to rent, inflation is driving up both mortgage rates and rents for apartments of all sizes, making all housing more expensive.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Inflation in 2022 is driving up higher mortgage rates in a housing market with low inventory, and also causing rents to rise.

Nehada Sinanovic, her husband and their two children currently live with her mother-in-law and need a bigger space. They've been searching for a house to buy for a year and a half.

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"You can't fall in love with a house, because I definitely did and got heartbroken over and over again," she said.

It seems no matter how much they offer, they keep getting outbid.

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Crystal Chen with Zumper, an apartment finding service, offered tips to help renters find deals even as interest rates rise.

"We are pre-approved and we have letters and all of our bank statements, but lots of people have that too, so it doesn't make a difference," she said.

"The supply is so limited and a lot of buyers are looking," said Ifeta Redzovic, realtor with FirstGold Realty.

On top of the low inventory, interest rates are going up.

The Fed is raising interest rates to try to slow down home buying and lower inflation. Some people who can't afford mortgages are turning to rentals, and that increasing demand is forcing rent to go up too.

A recent study shows rent for a one bedroom apartment is up 32% from one year ago, costing $1,870. The rent for a two bedroom apartment has risen 27%, costing $2,230. And still, for some, renting may be the best option in this market.

"Definitely if somebody knows they are not going to be here next year, they should not buy," Redzovic said. "Because when you sell a home, you have expenses to pay."

But if buying is still the goal, Redzovic stressed that the most important thing to do is stay within your budget.

"They have in their mind their ideal home, and now with the interest rates rising, the ideal home is getting smaller because the monthly payment is getting larger," she said. "So I tell them that your first home doesn't need to be your dream home."

If you're looking to buy, look into financing options. There are various loan products beyond a conventional mortgage, like FHA loans which typically come with lower interest rates and VA loans for veterans.

If you're renting, consider a private landlord over a corporation. A private landlord may be more willing to negotiate the rental price.