Last week, Britain voted to leave the European Union, an unexpected and historic decision that has been scrutinized all over the world - and is causing the kind of political hindsight and regret within Britain that has many asking if the vote can be undone. Or redone.
But while Brits wonder what comes next for them, aftershocks are reverberating through the rest of the world. The net worth of the world's top earners got clobbered post vote, and the U.S. stock market took a big hit, dropping sharply as of the next full trading day. American 401(k)s lost as much as $100 billion, according to a speech given by Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
But a run toward "safer" assets as a reaction to Brexit could actually present a huge opportunity for Americans. Looking to buy a house? This could be your best chance in years.
"Britain's decision to leave the European Union could benefit a group thousands of miles away," said the Wall Street Journal. "Several lenders posted rates for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages of about 3.5% on Monday, nearing a 3.5-year low, and analysts expect coming reports to show that average U.S. mortgage rates have decreased since the Brexit vote Thursday. The main reason: Investors have flocked to the safety of U.S. Treasuries, pushing interest rates lower as riskier assets such as stocks tumbled. Mortgage rates tend to move up and down with 10-year Treasury rates, though the relationship isn't perfect."
Bankrate agrees it's a great time to lock in a rate, with the "average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage…down 10 basis points from a week ago."
Mortgage activity is up in the days since the Brexit vote - "Lenders across the country said refinancing applications since Thursday are up between 10% to 40% compared with typical volume this time of year, said the Wall Street Journal - with buyers looking to take advantage of low rates and new hope for refinancers.
In fact, this may be one of the best opportunities "since the Great Recession - for mortgage borrowers to lower their monthly payments, reduce the term of the mortgage or take out some cash," said the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. "With interest rates already hovering near historic lows - and then getting kicked down a notch by the "Brexit" surprise - another chance for homeowners to refinance a mortgage at near-bottom rates appears to be under way."
Lower rates have created anticipation of "a miniwave of refinancing in coming weeks" by lenders, said the Wall Street Journal. "In all, 40% of borrowers have loans with a rate of 4.5% or higher, according to CoreLogic Inc., a real-estate analytics firm, meaning they could save about $90 a month on average by refinancing at 3.5%."
Another boon to those looking to buy: an expected rise in interest rates will now likely be delayed until 2017. "Economic turbulence could prompt the Federal Reserve to hold off on raising interest rates until next year, which would likely help keep mortgage rates low," said the Wall Street Journal.
And then there's the popular idea that turbulence in international markets could pump up the interest in U.S. real estate by foreign buyers. Many experts think U.S. home equity could get a boost as demand for American real estate continues to grow.
"Some analysts believe that Britain's exit from the EU could lead to added demand for American real estate, especially in major cities like New York and Los Angeles," said Fortune. "Investors are primed to look at the U.S. real estate market as a reasonable alternative to the London market, which has long been a haven for the global rich to stow their excess wealth."