Why Today’s Jobs Report Should Really Make You Think About Taking Out a Mortgage

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who would really, really like to hike interest rates sometime this year.  

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Today’s jobs report was dull, in a more or less good way. Employers added 215,000 workers to their payrolls in July, while the unemployment rate stayed still at 5.3 percent. The labor force participation rate, which is down to levels not seen since the 1970s, also didn’t budge, and hourly wages grew just slightly— enough to be up 2.1 percent for the entire year. Meanwhile, job gains for May and June were revised up by 14,000, to 260,000 and 231,000 respectively.  

So the job market still isn’t exactly supercharged, but its chugging along consistently enough. For the year, averaging 211,000 jobs per month. And, as economist Justin Wolfers excitedly pointed out:

So, what’s the takeaway? Well, if you were considering buying a house in the next six months, or trying to refinance a mortgage, I’d say these numbers should make you consider hurrying up. Despite the fact that inflation has remained incredibly low, Federal Reserve officials are very keen on the idea of hiking interest rates sometime this year, and there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot in this report that would dissuade them from doing so.

What about our slowish wage growth? Fed Chair Janet Yellen has previously said that she isn’t going to wait for Americans to get bigger raises as “a precondition to raising rates.” If anything, faster pay increases would probably just push the central bank to act sooner rather than later. So if you’re in the market for a big loan, I’d say there’s a good chance you’ll be paying less on it if you close the terms now than in, say, 4 months.