The U.S. weekly average 30-year fixed mortgage rate rocketed up 10 basis points to 4.32 percent this week. Following a turbulent Monday, financial markets settled down with the 10-year Treasury yield resuming its upward march. Mortgage rates have followed. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate is up 33 basis points since the start of the year. Will higher rates break housing market momentum? It’s too early to tell for sure, but initial readings indicate housing markets are sustaining their momentum so far. The MBA reported that purchase applications are up 8 percent from a year ago in their latest Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.
The Federal Reserve did not hike rates this week, but the market views future hikes as a near certainty. The expectation of future Fed rate hikes and increased borrowing by the U.S. Treasury is putting upward pressure on interest rates. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage is up over a quarter of a percentage point (27 basis points) from the first week of the year. 30-year fixed mortgage rates have increased for four consecutive weeks and are now slightly above where they were last year at this time.
Rates keep climbing. The 10-year Treasury yield reached its highest point since 2014 reflecting expectations of broad-based economic growth. Mortgage rates, in turn, followed the surge in Treasury yields. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage jumped 11 basis points to 4.15 percent, its highest level since March of last year.
The release of the December existing home sales data confirms that 2017 was the best year for home sales in over a decade. Will 2018 home sales outpace 2017? Homebuyer affordability will be a challenge, with mortgage rates moving higher and robust house price gains across the country. The FHFA reported that house prices increased 6.5 percent from November 2016 to November 2017, with all regions showing positive 12-month changes.
The U.S. weekly average for the 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose above 4 percent for the first time since last summer to 4.04 percent in this week’s survey. This is the highest weekly average for the 30-year fixed rate mortgage since May of 2017. Inflation is firming, the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book indicates broad-based economic growth and labor markets are tightening. This means upward pressure on long-term rates, like the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, is building.
After dipping slightly last week, Treasury yields surged this week amidst sell-offs in the bond market. The 10-year Treasury yield, for instance, reached its highest point since March of last year. Mortgage rates followed Treasury yields and ticked up modestly across the board. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.99 percent, up 4 basis points from a week ago.
Treasury yields fell from a week ago, helping to drive mortgage rates down to start the year. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell 4 basis points from a week ago to 3.95 percent in the year’s first survey. Despite increases in short-term interest rates, long-term interest rates remain subdued. The 30-year mortgage rate is down a quarter of a percentage point from where it was a year ago and the spread between the 30-year fixed and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage is the lowest since 2009.
As expected, mortgage rates felt the effect of last week’s surge in long-term interest rates in the final, shortened week of 2017. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate increased 5 basis points to 3.99 percent in this week’s survey. Although this week’s survey rate represents a five-month high, 30-year fixed mortgage rates are still below the levels we saw at the end of last year and early part of 2017. Mortgage rates have remained relatively low all year.
30-year fixed mortgage rates have been bouncing around in a narrow 10 basis points range since October. The U.S. average 30-year fixed mortgage rate increased 1 basis point to 3.94 percent in this week’s survey. The majority of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) was completed prior to the surge in long-term interest rates that followed the passage of the tax bill. If those rate increases stick, we’ll likely see higher mortgage rates in next week’s survey. But even with yesterday’s increase, the 10-year Treasury yield is down from a year ago, and 30-year fixed mortgage rates are 36 basis points below the level we saw in our survey last year at this time. Mortgage rates are low.
As widely expected, the Fed increased the federal funds target rate this week for the third time in 2017. The market had already priced in the rate hike so long-term interest rates, including mortgage rates, hardly moved. Mortgage rates have been in a holding pattern for the fourth quarter, remaining within a 10 basis point range since October.
This week’s survey reflects last week’s uptick in long-term interest rates, with the 30-year fixed mortgage rate up 4 basis points to 3.94 percent. The 30-year mortgage rate has been bouncing around in a 10 basis point range since September.
While long-term rates have been relatively steady week-to-week, shorter term interest rates have been on the rise. The spread between the 30-year fixed mortgage and the 5/1 Hybrid ARM rate was 59 basis points this week, down 43 basis points from earlier this year. With a narrower spread between fixed and adjustable mortgage rates, more borrowers are opting for a fixed product.