Mortgage Rates Tick Up for 9th Straight Week

March 16, 2018

Borrowers were once again faced with rising mortgage rates this week. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage continues to be at its highest average in four years.

“The 10-year Treasury yield has been bouncing around in a narrow 15 basis point range for the last month,” explains Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “While the yield on the 10-year Treasury is currently below the high of 2.95 percent reached two weeks ago, mortgage rates are up for the ninth consecutive week. The U.S. weekly average 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose 3 basis points to 4.46 percent in this week’s survey, its highest level since January 2014.”

Lawrence Yun commented this morning on the likely impact of the surprising job numbers on mortgages.

“The strong job growth assures at least three interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve in 2018. Because of the low unemployment rate, further normalization in monetary policy should be expected in 2019 as well, meaning another three or four rate hikes next year. Mortgage rates will therefore rise and rise—that in itself hurts housing affordability,” Yun said. “But factors that can help with affordability are more income to households (possibly a second income earner getting a job) and if home prices can finally moderate. For slower home price growth, more home construction is needed. Job openings in the construction industry remain at historic highs. It is now a matter of providing necessary skills to go into the industry.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending March 8:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.46 percent, with an average 0.5 point, increasing from last week’s 4.43 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.21 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.94 percent, with an average 0.5 point, increasing from last week’s 3.90 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.42 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.63 percent, with an average 0.4 point, rising from last week’s 3.62 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.23 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac