The sharpest spike of the year in mortgage rates came after Donald Trump’s win.
According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average soared to 3.94 percent this week with an average 0.5 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.) That’s 37 basis points higher than a week ago when it was 3.57 percent and the fifth-largest one-week jump in the 30-year fixed rate since 2000. (A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.) It was 3.97 percent a year ago. The 30-year fixed rate hasn’t been this high since January.
The 15-year fixed-rate average jumped to 3.14 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 2.88 percent a week ago and 3.18 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed rate hasn’t been above 3 percent since February.
The five-year adjustable rate average climbed to 3.07 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 2.88 percent a week ago and 2.98 percent a year ago. This is the first time since January the five-year ARM has been higher than 3 percent.
“This week’s increase in mortgage rates, being dubbed the ‘Trump Tantrum,’ is the biggest one week increase since the ‘Taper Tantrum’ in June 2013,” said Greg McBride, senior vice president and chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com.
Since Trump was elected president, investors have flooded the stock market and pulled out of the bond markets. Treasury yields have skyrocketed, rising 44 basis points in the past week to their highest level since January. The yield on a 10-year bond went from 1.79 percent on Nov. 4 to 2.23 percent on Monday.
The movement of the 10-year Treasury bond is one of the best indicators of whether mortgage rates will rise or fall. When yields go up, mortgage rates tend to follow.
Higher home loan rates may put a damper on the housing recovery. With lack of inventory driving up home prices in some markets, higher rates will make housing less affordable. However, if the economy gets a boost and wages grow under Trump, higher rates may not matter as much.
“As we continue to learn more about shape of the new administration, their policies, and the global reaction, we expect more volatility as markets try to put a price on the political developments,” said Erin Lantz, Zillow Group vice president of mortgages. “Consumers considering buying or refinancing now should stay patient, as we’ll likely see rates stabilize once markets find a new equilibrium.”
Bankrate.com, which puts out a weekly mortgage rate trend index, found the experts it surveyed were split over where rates were headed in the coming week. Half said they would fall, 40 percent said they would rise and 10 percent said they would remain relatively unchanged. Brett Sinnott, vice president of capital markets at CMG Financial, is one who believes rates will move higher.
“Bonds continue to get hammered as the election results have both the stock market and the U.S. dollar soaring,” he said. “Many people have missed that China is continuing to sell U.S. Treasuries, which is also causing a disruption to the market. Investors still believe that there will be a rate hike by the Fed in December and markets are still trying to build in the change ahead of the Fed meeting. This will hopefully lead to a scenario similar to last year in which an initial overreaction was followed by a strong rally and falling mortgage rates. Markets continue to remain choppy as both the Fed’s decision and the new President’s agenda have yet to be fully uncovered, leading to uncertainty in several markets, both domestic and foreign.”
McBride thinks rates will go down.
“Rates have rocketed higher — too far, too fast — based only on speculation and not specifics,” he said. “Time for a pause.”
Meanwhile, higher rates caused mortgage applications to plummet this week, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The market composite index — a measure of total loan application volume — fell 9.2 percent from the previous week. The refinance index sank 11 percent to its lowest level in eight months, while the purchase index dropped 6 percent to its lowest level since January.
The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 61.9 percent of all applications.
“Investor expectations of faster growth and higher inflation are driving the jump up in rates, and rates have now increased for five of the past six weeks, spurring a commensurate drop in refinance activity,” David H. Stevens, president and chief executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association, said in a statement.