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Rising mortgage rates impacting buyers' budgets

"We're seeing a lot of buyers changing their behaviors because of the rates," said one real estate professional.

INDIANAPOLIS — Sean and Julianna Fitzgerald are ready for their starter home. 

"We're turning 31, 32. Maybe start a family soon," Sean said, "So apartment living really isn't conducive to that."

On their list of wants: A place with a little charm and a backyard for their dogs.

"Lola was our like little COVID baby, so she's a little anxious," Juliana laughed, "but Gracie is just our sweetheart." 

But since the start of their home search some things have changed

"Our budget changed, about $20,000 less than what we initially thought we could buy," Sean said.  

That's because of rising mortgage costs. Fortunately, they locked in a rate around 6% the third week of September. Had they waited until the last week of the month, it would've been 7%.

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That's why their realtor Amy Spillman said she watches for swings. 

"We sometimes see days where it starts out at one thing at 10 a.m. and by four, it's different," Spillman said. 

Spillman, who works for Century 21 Scheetz, said the Fitzgeralds aren't the only people making adjustments. 

"We're seeing a lot of buyers changing their behaviors because of the rates."

Dr. Matthew Will, associate professor of finance at the University of Indianapolis, said buyers have been spoiled by low rates. 

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"We've had these 2% rates and 3% rates for so many years, and that's not the norm," Dr. Will said.

What is the norm, according to Dr. Will, a number around 6%, or what the Fitzgerald's paid. 

"Inflation is at 8.5%. It's one of the highest levels we've seen since the 1980s. And, you know, think of a bank if they have to cover an eight and a half percent inflation rate. I'm surprised they're not charging more than eight and a half percent," Will said. 

As for the Fitzgeralds, they're excited to get into their home at a price they can afford.  

Mortgage rates were slightly down as of Wednesday Oct. 6, with the average 30-year fixed around 6.89%.

If you're shopping for a home, be sure to communicate your monthly budget.

Plus, set some spare change aside just in case something goes wrong with the home after you buy it. 

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