HousingWire’s Mortgage Rates Center with current rates and news

Keep up with current rates and related news at HousingWire’s Mortgage Rates Center. Rates are updated twice weekly based on data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and Freddie Mac‘s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS). Freddie Mac’s PMMS only covers purchase mortgages. In addition, the PMMS looks at rates from the first three days of the week from lender websites, while the MBA survey covers the rates on apps collected over the prior full week.

PMMS 9/23/2021

The average 30-year-fixed mortgage rose, ever so slightly, to 2.88% for the week ending Sept. 23. Mortgage rates have been roughly flat for months now.

According to Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, homebuyers are soaking up all available inventory, while home-price growth is also moderating.

“The slowdown in economic growth around the world has caused a flight to the quality of the U.S. financial markets,” said Khater. “This has led to a rise in foreign investor purchases of U.S. Treasuries, causing mortgage rates to remain in place, despite the increasing dispersion of inflation across different consumer goods and services.”

But what little progress builders have made may falter in the months to come.

“The next few months will be choppy as several home builders are signaling that they are going to deliver less supply amid labor and materials shortages,” Khater said.

MBA 9/22/2021

The week following Labor Day saw a flurry of mortgage loan application activity, with volume jumping by 4.9% for the seven days ending Sept. 17. The increase in application activity is quite different from the MBA’s survey published in early September, which saw application volume decline by 1.9%.

The refi index increased by 7% from the previous week. Joel Kan, associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting at MBA, said that the surge in both refis and purchases was mainly driven by rates that remained low at 3.03%.

“There was a resurgence in mortgage applications the week after Labor Day, with activity overall at its highest level in over a month, and purchase applications jumping to a high last seen in April 2021,” said Kan. “Housing demand is strong heading into the fall, despite fast-rising home prices and low inventory. The inventory situation is improving, with more new homes under construction and more homeowners listing their home for sale.”

PMMS 9/16/2021

The average 30-year-fixed-rate mortgage continues to hover around the 2.86% mark for the week ending Sept. 16. Mortgage rates have remained stagnant for roughly two months, leading economists at Freddie Mac to liken it to “Groundhog Day.”

According to Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, the lack of movement in rates is due to the economic impact of new COVID-19 cases.

“While our collective attention is on the pandemic, fundamental changes in the economy are occurring, such as increased migration, the extended continuation of remote work, increased use of automation, and the focus on a more energy-efficient and resilient economy,” said Khater. “These factors will likely lead to significant investment and new post-pandemic economic models that will spur economic growth.”

Mortgage rates have struggled to reach 3% for much of 2021, despite widespread expectations they’d be in the mid-3s or higher by the third quarter.

MBA 9/15/2021

While mortgage rates remained unchanged, mortgage loan application volume increased by 0.3% for the week ending Sept. 10.

According to Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, purchase mortgage application volume is currently at its highest level since April 2021.

“Compared to the same week last September, which was right in the middle of a significant upswing in home purchases, applications were down 11%– the smallest year-over-year decline in 14 weeks,” Kan said. “The very competitive purchase market continues to put upward pressure on sales prices.”

Meanwhile, the refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 64.9% of total applications from 66.8% last week, the report found.

PMMS 9/9/2021

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was stagnant at 2.88% for the week ending Sept. 9. This week’s near-constant mortgage rates tracked with the 10-year Treasury yield, which rose slightly and then tapered off in the past week. The 10-year Treasury yield for Sept. 8 was 1.35.

According to Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac, the recent rise in COVID cases has hindered progress in the economy overall. 

“While the economy continues to grow, it has lost momentum over the last two months due to the current wave of new COVID cases that has led to weaker employment, lower spending and declining consumer confidence,” said Khater. “Consequently, mortgage rates dropped early this summer and have stayed steady despite increases in inflation caused by supply and demand imbalances.”

“The net result for housing is that these low and stable rates allow consumers more time to find the homes they are looking to purchase,” Khater said.

MBA 9/8/2021

Mike Fratantoni, senior vice president and chief economist at the MBA, noted that while refinance volume seems to be tapering — which has been a trend in recent months — purchase activity is also lower than expected.

“Economic data has sent mixed signals, with slower job growth but a further drop in the unemployment rate in August,” he said. “We expect that further improvements will lead to a tapering of Fed MBS purchases by the end of the year, which should put some upward pressure on mortgage rates.” Mortgage rates have stayed just above 3% for the past several weeks.

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PMMS 9/2/2021

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was flat at 2.87% for the week ending in Sept. 2, according to mortgage rates data released Thursday by Freddie Mac‘s PMMS.

The week prior, mortgage rates also held steady at 2.87%. This week’s near constant mortgage rates tracked with the 10-year Treasury yield, which has hovered around 1.30 for the past week. The 10-year Treasury yield for Sept. 1 was 1.31.

According to Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac, mortgage rates have held steady as economic growth and rising prices in goods have cooled. He predicted that those factors will also moderate home-price growth.

“Economic growth and the acceleration in inflation have moderated in the last month, giving the markets comfort and leading to a stabilization in mortgage rates,” said Khater. “Heading into the fall, home purchase demand is stable, home sales remain firm and above pre-pandemic levels, and inventory of unsold homes is tight but improving modestly. These factors will allow for home price pressures to ease over the remainder of the year.”

A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.93%. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose slightly from the week prior, again, at 2.18%.

MBA 9/1/2021

Mortgage applications dipped 2.4% for the week ending Aug. 27, with a notable drop in refinance applications.

On an unadjusted basis, the weekly mortgage application survey by the trade organization decreased 3% compared to the prior week. The refinance index fell 4% but was still higher than it was a year ago. The seasonally adjusted purchase index dropped 2% compared to the previous week and was 16% lower than it was a year ago, largely due to soaring prices and paltry inventory.

Unlike prior weeks, there was little movement of mortgage rates or Treasury spreads. The 30-year-fixed-rate mortgage stayed at 3.03%.

“Despite low rates, refinance applications declined, with some borrowers still waiting for rates to drop even lower. Recent uncertainty around the economy and pandemic have kept rates low over the past month, which is why the refinance index has oscillated around these levels,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting. “Even with a slight increase, purchase activity hit its highest level since early July, as applications for conventional and government loans increased.”

PMMS 8/26/2021

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage held steady at 2.87% for the week ending in August 26. This week’s near constant mortgage rates may not yet reflect a rise in U.S. Treasury yields, which ticked up toward the end of the week.

According to Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac, concerns over COVID-19 stand in sharp contrast to the economic recovery, leading to stalled mortgage rates.

“The tug-of-war between the economic recovery and rising COVID-19 cases has left mortgage rates moving sideways over the last few weeks,” said Khater. “Overall, rates continue to be low, with a window of opportunity for those who did not refinance under 3%.”

Khater added that purchase application demand is improving, but very low inventory is the major obstacle to higher home sales.

MBA 8/25/2021

Mortgage applications rose 1.6% on the week ending Aug. 20, moving in concert with a drop in Treasury yields.

“Treasury yields fell last week, as investors continue to anxiously monitor if the rise in COVID-19 cases in
several states starts to dampen economic activity,” said Joel Kan, the MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting. “Mortgage rates slightly declined as a result, with the 30-year fixed rate decreasing for the first time in three weeks. Lower rates led to an increase in refinance applications, with government loan applications jumping 10 percent to the highest level since May 2021.”

The average contract interest rate for a 30-year-fixed rate conventional mortgage decreased to 3.03% from 3.06%.

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