Navigating Today’s Competitive Real Estate Market | National Mortgage Professional Month Q&A with Rocco Diina

September 21, 2023

As mortgage rates soar to their highest levels in 21 years – with 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaging above 7% – concerns have surfaced related to the effects on homebuyer behavior and market dynamics. And even with the higher interest rates, demand is at an all-time high, often outstripping supply where bidding wars have become commonplace, driving property prices to new heights. Agents and investors must harness innovation and adaptability to gain an edge, while prospective homeowners face fierce competition for their dream properties.

In this challenging environment, staying informed and strategic is key to success. In honor of National Mortgage Professional Month, Rocco Diina, senior vice president and head of mortgage sales, shares how consumers can navigate the local market during this period of rising interest rates, inflation and high demand.

How has the current economic landscape impacted mortgage interest rates and what strategies can homebuyers use to secure the most favorable rates in today's market?

When the Federal Reserve began to raise its key interest rate in March of 2022 to fight inflation, we saw a sharp increase in residential mortgage interest rates, increasing borrowers’ overall long-term cost when pursuing homeownership with financing. Regardless of government monetary policy and economic factors that move the mortgage rate market, borrowers can still ensure they receive the lowest rate possible by displaying robust financial health, including a stellar credit history. 

What advice can you provide to homebuyers on managing their financial stability during the mortgage application process and throughout homeownership?

My advice when purchasing a home would be to understand your long-term goals and how they fit into homeownership; narrowing down your goals will point you in the right direction to choosing the best option for financing. As life progresses and goals change, communicate with a mortgage loan officer to create a plan for the future. 

With the potential for more interest rate hikes this year combined with housing inventories at historic lows, what should borrowers do for a more competitive edge in today’s market?

Housing inventory and interest rate uncertainty will remain an issue for the foreseeable future; borrowers can stand out by being prepared with a mortgage pre-approval. At Northwest, we provide a modern digital experience (QuickQual) that allows borrowers and real estate agents to update pre-approval letters on demand. Also, borrowers can utilize a customized calculator to explore loan scenarios so decision-making keeps pace with a fast-moving market.  


To learn more about home lending solutions offered by Northwest Bank, visit their home lending page, here.