mortgage interest rates

Why Homeowners Are Choosing to Stay Put as Mortgage Interest Rates Rise


In today’s real estate market, mortgage interest rates are playing a major role in shaping homeowners’ decisions. With rates now approaching 7%, many homeowners are finding it more difficult to afford to move, even if they would like to. This is leading to a shortage of homes available for sale, which is driving up prices even further.

Why Mortgage Interest Rates Matter

Mortgage interest rates are one of the biggest factors that homeowners consider when making a decision about whether to sell or stay put. When rates are low, it is more affordable to borrow money, which makes it easier to move. However, as rates rise, the cost of borrowing money increases, making it more difficult to afford a new home. This can lead to homeowners choosing to stay put, even if they would like to move.

Financial Incentives to Stay Put

One of the biggest financial incentives to stay put is the fact that homeowners with low-interest mortgages are currently paying much less for their monthly mortgage payments than they would if they were to refinance or purchase a new home. For example, a homeowner with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 3% is currently paying about $1,200 per month on a $300,000 loan. If that same homeowner were to refinance at 6%, their monthly payment would increase to $1,500 per month. This is a significant increase in monthly expenses, which can be a major deterrent to moving.

Impact on Affordability

In addition to the financial incentives, rising mortgage interest rates can also have a negative impact on affordability. This is because higher rates make it more difficult for buyers to qualify for a mortgage. For example, a buyer with a 20% down payment and a credit score of 720 would be able to afford a home that is $350,000 with a 3% interest rate. However, if interest rates rise to 6%, that same buyer would only be able to afford a home that is $275,000. This means that fewer buyers will be able to afford to purchase a home, which can lead to a decline in demand and a decrease in prices.

Psychological Effects of Rate Comparisons

Another factor that can influence homeowners’ decisions to stay put is the psychological effects of rate comparisons. When homeowners see that interest rates have risen, they may start to feel like they are “under water” on their mortgage. This means that the amount they owe on their mortgage is more than the value of their home. This can be a very stressful situation, and it can make homeowners less likely to want to move.

The Urgency Threshold: When Rates Drop

While rising interest rates can discourage homeowners from selling, a recent Redfin survey found that homeowners are more likely to sell when interest rates drop. The survey found that:

  • 25% of likely sellers would be more likely to sell if rates dropped to 5% or lower.
  • This urgency increases to nearly 80% if rates were to plummet to 3% or below.

This suggests that homeowners are more likely to sell when they see an opportunity to save money on their mortgage payments. However, it is important to note that the housing market is complex, and there are many other factors that can influence homeowners’ decisions to sell.


Mortgage interest rates have a profound impact on the housing market, influencing homeowners’ decisions to stay put or sell their properties. As rates approach 7%, the trend of homeowners choosing to remain in their homes intensifies, contributing to a shortage of available properties for sale. By understanding the relationship between interest rates and homeowner behavior, individuals can make informed decisions about whether to sell or stay, ultimately shaping the dynamics of the real estate market.

Here are some additional tips for homeowners who are considering selling their home in a rising interest rate environment:

  • Do your research and understand the current market conditions.
  • Be prepared to negotiate on price and terms.
  • Consider working with a real estate agent who can help you market your home and attract buyers.
  • Be patient and don’t get discouraged if your home doesn’t sell immediately.

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