Coverage: Mortgage rates hit a seven-year high
Mortgage rates are at their highest levels since April 2011 as Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year fixed-rate average jumped to 4.90 percent with an average 0.5 point.
Kathy Orton of The Washington Post had the news:
The 19-basis-point jump (a basis point is 0.01 percentage point) was the largest one-week spike in the 30-year rate since November 2016, when it increased 37 basis points. The 30-year fixed rate was 4.71 percent a week ago and 3.91 percent a year ago.
The 15-year fixed-rate average climbed to 4.29 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 4.15 percent a week ago and 3.21 percent a year ago. The five-year adjustable rate average rose to 4.07 percent with an average 0.3 point. It was 4.01 percent a week ago and 3.16 percent a year ago.
“Strong employment and payroll data releases met analysts’ expectations, providing more evidence of a booming U.S. economy,” said Aaron Terrazas, senior economist at Zillow. “Markets tend to move in fits and spurts, with sharp movements often followed by brief retreats, as we’ve seen over the past few days. But there is no doubt that the trend is decisively higher, and comments from several Fed officials bolstered the notion that the American economy can withstand higher rates.”
Paul R. LaMonica of CNN Business reported that rates are still relatively low:
Rates are still relatively low. The average 30-year mortgage rate was hovering around 6.5% in 2007 — before the epic housing market collapse that helped lead to the Great Recession.
But housing prices are starting to cool off in many markets around the country. Prices aren’t rising as quickly in New York, Chicago and Washington.
And according to a recent report from Zillow, prospective sellers have even been forced to cut prices in some markets that were once red hot, such as San Diego, Portland and Dallas.
Buyers seem wary of paying too much, especially now that a mortgage will cost them more.
That may be taking their toll on homebuilders. D.R. Horton said earlier this week that it expected home sales for this year to be below Wall Street’s forecasts. Lennar recently cut its orders outlook too.
Andrea Riquier of MarketWatch.com reported that a lack of housing inventory is also affecting the market:
At Cleveland-based Nations Lending, which makes home loans in 47 states, business is “down,” CEO Jeremy Sopko said.
But for the most part that’s not because of rates. While higher borrowing costs have squeezed the company’s refinancing business — it’s down 27% year-to-date — Sopko thinks some of that volume may be made up by increasing interest in home equity loans and lines of credit.
Rather, it’s the lack of inventory in nearly every market that Nations serves that’s stifling activity. “We have a lot of people wanting to buy homes,” Sopko told MarketWatch.
“Inventory is down, employment is way up but wage growth is stagnant, interest rates are spiking, and home prices are generally going up. A lot of potential home buyers just can’t compete in this kind of environment. They are being priced out and simply can’t qualify.”