Mortgage rates rose this week but essentially are back to where they started a year ago.
According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average climbed to 3.95 percent with an average 0.5 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.) It was 3.90 percent a week ago and 3.94 percent a year ago. It was the highest the 30-year fixed rate has been since July.
The 15-year fixed-rate average grew to 3.31 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.24 percent a week ago and 3.14 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed rate hasn’t been this high since April. The five-year adjustable rate average slipped to 3.21 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 3.22 percent a week ago and 3.07 percent a year ago.
“Additional developments surrounding the Administration’s tax reform plan pushed rates lower at the beginning of the week, but this was effectively offset by news of stronger economic growth in Europe,” said Joel Kan, an economist with the Mortgage Bankers Association.
A year ago, mortgage rates soared after Donald Trump was elected president. The 30-year fixed rate jumped to 3.94 percent from 3.57 percent. The 15-year fixed rate soared to 3.14 percent from 2.88 percent. And the five-year arm climbed to 3.07 percent from 2.88 percent.
Twelve months later, fixed home loan rates are pretty much back to where they were.
Bankrate.com, which puts out a weekly mortgage rate trend index, found that half of the experts it surveyed say rates will remain relatively stable in the coming week. Brett Sinnott, vice president of capital markets at CMG Financial, is one who predicts that rates will hold steady.
“It is still expected that the Fed will carry out its final rate move of 2017 by increasing 25 [basis points] at their December meeting,” Sinnott said. “This, combined with their balance sheet unwind, should have a greater effect on mortgage rates than the previous moves earlier in the year. Home prices continue to hinder prospective buyers as almost half of the nation’s top markets are now considered ‘overvalued’ according to recent figures, and although seasonality may be a significant reason for low mortgage volume, at some point higher interest rates will be a dominant force in home values and mortgage volume.”
Meanwhile, mortgage applications were higher last week, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The market composite index — a measure of total loan application volume — increased 3.1 percent. The refinance index rose 6 percent, while the purchase index was flat, inching up 0.4 percent.
The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 51.3 percent of all applications.
“Refinance activity increased over the week, as rates were lower in the first half of the week before increasing at week’s end, and the refinance index reached its highest level since October,” Kan said. “Applications for home purchase loans increased slightly last week and were 17 percent higher than the same week one year ago.”
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