Some options to include in relocation packages to help offset high-interest rates costs
As we enter peak move season, many are taking notice of the rising interest rates on mortgages. There is no doubt that this affects anyone who is relocating for a new position. In addition, interest rates have a significant say in the bottom line of monthly mortgage costs, which could sway a transferee’s decision on a home purchase.
Add rising interest rates to the significant increase in average home prices, and the impact on purchase power shifts for many who are relocating to a new state. But why is this happening? And what can companies do about it to help employees in their relocation process?
While there’s no magic relocation package that can include a lower interest rate or first dibs at bidding on a home, there are a few workarounds that might be able to ease the process for the transferee.
Will Interest Rates Continue to Rise?
Many real estate experts would predict that interest rates will continue to rise in the immediate future. With rates going up, the Federal Reserve has begun to pull back on the purchase of mortgage-backed securities (MBS). This will likely hike up interest rates because the return rate on mortgage bonds has to be higher to bring in investors.
The Federal Reserve controls the percentage of the Fed funds rate. But that does not mean there is a direct correlation between short-term interest rates on funds from banks and consumer interest rates. If it becomes more expensive for banks to borrow, they are more likely to pass that cost on to consumers through higher interest rates. This is the main reason for those predicting interest rates to rise in the coming month.
It’s worth mentioning that interest rates were low for so long to boost the economy while the world dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic. This favored higher home prices because lower interest rates meant that buyers’ budgets could be stretched further.
Updating Relocation Policies Can Help Offset Higher Interest Rates Costs
Hiring and maintaining top-level employees can be challenging. To get the right person in the right seat, companies should look into offering relocation packages to ensure they have the best chance of landing top talent. But what should be included in a talent mobility package to help offset these higher interest rates?
Here is a breakdown of some different relocation policies that can help transferees on the real estate front.
Please note that all numbers and figures used are for example purposes only and not to be used as quotes for the home buying process.
Offer to Pay for Points
It is common for companies to include prepaid interest assistance in their relocation benefits. Buying points is a way of lowering the interest rate on a loan by putting money down upfront. If companies can include this option in their relocation packages, it could save thousands of dollars over the course of the loan.
For example, let’s say the home the moving employee is looking at is $300,000. To keep the example easy we’ll just say the loan rate is 4%. If the company is willing to add prepaid interest assistance in their benefits, the company could pay $6,000 upfront to buy two points, which gets the interest rate down to 3.5%. While this doesn’t sound like such a difference-maker, it could save the home buyer just over $30,000 on a 30-year loan.
Add a MIDA to the Relocation Package
Another great option to help transferees deal with high interest rates is to have a Mortgage Interest Deferral Assistance (MIDA) program included in the relocation benefits. This is another form of buying points down, but instead of paying for the decreased points upfront, the company would offer to pay the difference in interest between the former mortgage and the new mortgage.
How this works is let’s say the moving employee has a current interest rate of 5%, but due to the market conditions when they move for the job, the interest rate they get locked into is 6.5%. The business could pay the employee the price difference on the monthly payment. This can help the employee stay afloat financially and still have some wiggle room when searching for a home in their new destination. Typically MIDA has a cutoff of about 1-3 years once the transferee’s relocation process is complete.
Include a Dollar-Based Mortgage Subsidy
This option works best for companies who want or need to know how much they will spend on mortgage assistance for moving employees. A dollar-based mortgage subsidy works because the organization is willing to pay a total of $25,000 to help the transferee with mortgage and interest rates. Instead of giving all the money upfront, the company could provide the employee 40% in the first year, 30% in the second year, then 20% in the third year, and finally, give them the last 10% in the fourth year.
This strategy is popular for relocation managers because it lowers the transferee’s monthly mortgage payment while the company knows precisely how much they are spending upfront for the four-year option.
Work with GMS for Relocation Needs
Global Mobility Solutions (GMS) has been the relocation industry leader since 1987. Our expert team of relocation specialists has helped countless transferring employees get from point A to point B. In addition, we take pride in offering companies a way to tie in real estate programs into their relocation policies that provide options to help with rising interest rates.
Many pre-decision services can also help the moving employee gain some buying power for their new home. For example, when working with GMS, clients have access to the best relocation technology, such as our mortgage calculator.
When working with GMS, companies and transferees are not tied down to work with one mortgage broker. Instead, we work with a long list of vetted and qualified lenders to ensure moving employees get the best rates. In most cases, transferees can get lower interest rates than if they shop independently. In addition, our extensive lender list gives transferees different home buying and selling options for relocation.
GMS knows firsthand how hard it can be to hire and retain top talent, so we want to help create competitive relocation packages that make the talent mobility process seamless for employees. Reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation on how our team can help set up mobility programs.
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