Mortgage rates dipped for the second consecutive week. Homebuyers have taken advantage of the recent moderation in rates, which led to a 4 percent increase in purchase applications last week. Although demand has remained steadfast against the backdrop of this year’s higher borrowing costs, it’s important to note that the growth rate of purchase loan balances has moderated so far this year – and particularly since March. This slowdown indicates that buyers are having difficulty stretching to keep up with the pace of home-price growth.
Mortgage rates moved up over the past week to 4.66 percent, their highest level since May 5, 2011 (4.71 percent). Mortgage rates so far in 2018 have had the most sustained increase to start the year in over 40 years. Through May, rates have risen in 15 out of the first 21 weeks (71 percent), which is the highest share since Freddie Mac began tracking this data for a full year in 1972.
After plateauing in recent weeks, mortgage rates reversed course and reached a new high last seen eight years ago. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate edged up to 4.61 percent, which matches the highest level since May 19, 2011. Healthy consumer spending and higher commodity prices spooked the bond markets and led to higher mortgage rates over the past week. Not only are buyers facing higher borrowing costs, gas prices are currently at four-year highs just as we enter the important peak home sales season.
The 30-year fixed mortgage rate remained at 4.55 percent over the past week. The minimal movement of mortgage rates in these last three weeks reflects the current economic nirvana of a tight labor market, solid economic growth and restrained inflation. While this year’s higher rates – up 50 basis points from a year ago – have put pressure on the budgets of some home shoppers, weak inventory levels are what’s keeping the housing market from a stronger sales pace.
After steadily rising in most of April, average mortgage rates dipped slightly over the past week. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate declined three basis points to 4.55 percent in this week’s survey. While mortgage rates have increased by one-half of a percentage point so far this year, it has not impacted home purchase demand, which continues to grow this spring. The observed buyer resiliency in the face of higher rates reflects the healthy economy and strong consumer confidence, which are important drivers of home sales activity.
Mortgage rates increased for the third consecutive week, climbing 11 basis points to 4.58 percent. Rates are now at their highest level since the week of August 22, 2013. Higher Treasury yields, driven by rising commodity prices, more Treasury issuances and the steady stream of solid economic news, are behind the uptick in rates over the past week.
Treasury yields rose ahead of the release of the Fed’s Beige Book and speeches from New York Fed President William Dudley and Fed Governor Randal Quarles. Following Treasurys, mortgage rates soared. The U.S. weekly average 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose 5 basis points to 4.47 percent in this week’s survey, its highest level since January of 2014 and the largest weekly increase since February of this year.
After dropping earlier this week on trade-related anxiety in financial markets, the benchmark 10-year Treasury stabilized on Wednesday, but at a level slightly lower than from the start of last week. Mortgage rates followed and fell for the second consecutive week; the U.S. weekly average 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.4 percent in the Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) this week. Though rates on the 30-year fixed mortgage are up 0.3 percentage points from the same week a year ago, a robust labor marking is helping home purchase demand weather modestly higher rates.