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 10/21/2021

The average 30-year-fixed rate mortgage climbed to 3.09% during the week ending Oct. 21, rising from 3.05% the week prior, according to the latest Freddie Mac PMMS Mortgage Survey.

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said in a statement “Mortgage rates continued to rise this week due to the trajectory of both the economy and the pandemic.”

A year ago, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.80%. Most economists believe they’ll continue to climb. Rising mortgage rates and paltry inventory will make things harder for homebuyers as well.

“Even as the availability of existing homes is improving, prices remain high due to homebuyer demand and limitations on housing starts and permits resulting from the ongoing labor and material shortages,” Khater said. “Despite these countervailing forces, we expect the housing market to remain strong as we head into the end of the year.”

MBA 10/20/2021

Mortgage application activity dropped 6.3% for the week ending Oct. 15, according to the latest Mortgage Bankers Association survey. And, as you might have guessed, mortgage rates had a lot to do with it.

“The 30-year fixed rate has increased 20 basis points over the past month and reached 3.23% last week – the highest since April 2021. The 15-year fixed rate increased to 2.54%, which is the highest since July,” said Joel Kan, the MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting.

According to Kan, “insufficient housing supply and elevated home-price growth” are limiting options for prospective buyers.

PMMS 10/14/2021

Mortgage rates hit highest level since April, rising to 3.05% for the week ending Oct. 14.

Two weeks ago, rates rose 13 basis points to 3.01%, eclipsing the 3% mark for the first time since June. However, last week, rates fell to 2.99%. 

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said in a statement that “as inflationary pressure builds due to the ongoing pandemic and tightening monetary policy, we expect rates to continue a modest upswing.”

Although rates remain at historic lows for now, market observers do expect rates to climb upward, eventually. Even a modest increase in rates could deter borrowers from seeking to refinance their mortgages.

MBA 10/13/21

Mortgage application activity was largely flat for the week ending Oct. 8. However, applications overall increased just 0.2% from the prior week.

According to Joel Kan, the MBA’s vice president of economic and industry forecasting, “an increase in home purchase applications offset a slight decline in refinances.”

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($548,250 or less) increased to 3.18% from 3.14%.

“Government refinance applications fell over 3% last week, driven by a decline in FHA refinances and an eight-basis-point increase in the average FHA mortgage rate,” said Kan. “We continue to expect weakening refinance activity as  rates move higher and borrowers see less of a rate incentive.” 

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PMMS 10/07/2021

The average 30-year-fixed mortgage rate slipped back down to 2.99% for the week ending Oct. 7. The week before, rates had made it above the 3% mark for the first time since June.

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, believes rates remain close to 3% as a result of continued unknowns in the financial markets, as the pandemic lingers on.

“Mortgage rates continue to hover at around three percent again this week due to rising economic and financial market uncertainties,” said Khater. “Unfortunately, with the expectation that both mortgage rates and home prices will continue to rise, competition remains high and housing affordability is declining.”

Although rates remain at historic lows for now, market observers do expect rates to climb upward, eventually. Even a modest increase in rates could deter borrowers from seeking to refinance their mortgages.

MBA 10/06/2021

Mortgage application volume dropped 6.9% for the week ending Oct. 1, as higher rates reduced borrowers’ waning appetites for refis even further.

Pushing the decline was the refinance index, which dipped by 10% from the previous week. The purchase activity also decreased by 2% from the prior week.

Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said that “higher rates are reducing borrowers’ incentive to refinance, as declines were seen across all loan types.”

“With home-price appreciation and sales prices remaining very elevated, applications for higher balance, conventional loans still dominate the mix of activity,” Kan added.

MBA’s survey noted that the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($548,250 or less) increased four basis points to 3.14%.

PMMS 9/30/2021

The average 30-year-fixed mortgage rate rose 13 basis points to 3.01% for the week ending Sept. 30. Mortgage rates had been roughly flat for seven weeks, and this is the first time it rose above 3% since June.

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said in a statement that rates rose across all loan types.

“Many factors led to this increase, including the Federal Reserve communicating that it will taper its support of the capital markets, the broadening of inflation and emerging energy supply shortages which compound other labor and materials shortages,” Khater said.

According to Khater, mortgage rates are expected to continue to rise modestly which will likely have an impact on home prices.

MBA 9/29/2021

Mortgage application volume declined by 1.1% for the week ending Sept. 24. Pushing the decline was the purchase index, which dipped by 1.2% from the previous week

On an unadjusted basis, MBA’s index decreased by 1.3% compared to the previous week, showed the survey published today. The purchase index shrank 1.9%, and the refi index contracted 0.9%.

“Mortgage rates in response rose across all loan types, with the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate reaching its highest level since early July 2021,” Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said.

Kan added that the increase in rates occurred “mostly later in the week.”

Meanwhile, the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($548,250 or less) increased seven basis points to 3.10%.

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.

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