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.
The market implied probability of a Fed rate hike in December neared 100 percent, helping to drive short term interest rates higher. The 5/1 Hybrid ARM, which is more sensitive to short-term rates than the 30-year fixed mortgage, increased 10 basis points to 3.32 percent in this week’s survey. The spread between the 30-year fixed mortgage and 5/1 Hybrid ARM is just 58 basis points this week, the lowest spread since November of 2012.
Following a strong surge last week, rates held relatively flat this week. The 30-year mortgage rate remained unchanged at 3.94 percent, while the 10-year Treasury yield dipped roughly 4 basis points. The markets’ reaction to the upcoming announcement of the next Fed chair may impact the movement of rates in next week’s survey.