Freddie Mac, the federally chartered mortgage investor, aggregates rates from about 80 lenders nationwide to come up with weekly national averages. It uses rates for high-quality borrowers with high credit scores and large down payments. Because of the criteria, these rates are not available to every borrower.
The survey is based on home purchase mortgages, which means rates for refinances may be higher. The price adjustment for refinance transactions that took effect in December is adding to the cost. The adjustment, which applies to all Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac refinances, is 0.5 percent of the loan amount. That works out to $1,500 on a $300,000 loan.
The 15-year fixed-rate average held steady at 2.27 percent with an average 0.6 point. It was 2.62 percent a year ago. The five-year adjustable-rate average rose to 2.64 percent with an average 0.2 point. It was 2.59 percent a week ago and 3.10 percent a year ago.
“Mortgage rates trended up slightly this week, as markets digested inflation data and set their sights on the upcoming jobs report,” said Matthew Speakman, a Zillow economist. “Data released [last week] showed that the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation increased from April to May by more than it had in any month since 2001. The market’s initial reaction to the news was more muted than this type of report would normally warrant — something that may indicate investors believe that the rising price pressures are temporary and largely due to pandemic-driven shortages. However, mortgage rates moderately moved upward in the days that followed and are just slightly above where they were a month ago.”
Mortgage rates have hovered below 3 percent for six of the past seven weeks.
“Mortgage rates have been relatively stable for a few weeks,” said Holden Lewis, home and mortgage specialist at NerdWallet. “This is [rare] good news for home shoppers, who are stressed out by rapidly climbing prices. They don't have to factor rising interest rates into the equation, too.”
Low mortgage rates have contributed to rising housing prices. The national Case-Shiller home price index jumped 13.2 percent annually in March, the largest year-over-year price increase since December 2005 and one of the largest increases in the index’s 30-year history. It marked the 10th month in a row of accelerating home prices. The median sale price in the D.C. area soared to $550,000 in April, up 8.5 percent from April 2020, according to Bright MLS.
As inflation picks up, look for investors to sell Treasurys. A bond sell-off would cause yields to rise, which would put upward pressure on mortgage rates.
Bankrate.com, which puts out a weekly mortgage rate trend index, found that half of the experts it surveyed expect rates to remain about the same in the coming week.
“Rates will be flat through September but with annoying moves up and down in a market lacking consensus,” said Dick Lepre, senior loan officer at RPM Mortgage. “Uncertainty breeds volatility. My belief is that come September, we will see that the belief that inflation was ordained is completely incorrect, because debt generated by fiscal policy is inherently disinflationary or deflationary.”
Meanwhile, mortgage applications subsided for the second week in a row last week. According to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, the market composite index — a measure of total loan application volume — decreased 4 percent from a week earlier. The purchase index fell 3 percent, while the refinance index dropped 5 percent. The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 61.3 percent of applications.
“Low housing supply and rapidly rising prices have led to declining purchase activity in recent weeks, especially at the lower end of the market where demand is strongest and inventory is even more constrained,” said Bob Broeksmit, MBA president and chief executive. “As a result, government purchase applications — VA, FHA and USDA loans — have decreased from year-ago levels for five straight weeks. Refinance applications also declined last week, as fewer homeowners stand to benefit from rates that are higher than at the end of 2020.”
More Real Estate: