Tag: Federal Reserve

Average Mortgage Rates Up Over Week Before

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates increased last week across all loan categories, including 30-year fixed-rate loans with both conforming and jumbo balances, loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Rates increased to levels last seen in June, though they remain low by historical standards. Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist, told CNBC the jump was spurred, in part, by speculation that the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates this week. “Mortgage rates increased to their highest level since June last week as comments by some Fed officials made it appear that the Federal Reserve is closer to raising rates,” Fratantoni said. “The average refi loan size fell to its lowest level in three months as more jumbo borrowers left the market.” But while refinance and purchase application demand did fall from one week earlier, they both remain up from last year, with refinance activity 26 percent higher than at the same time one year ago. The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. More  here.


Potential Rate Hike Won’t Derail Housing

For months, speculation that the Federal Reserve would begin to raise interest rates has loomed over the housing market. The rumored rate hike has spurred some potential buyers to enter the market earlier than they may’ve planned but it’s also led many to theorize that higher mortgage rates would doom the housing market’s recent progress. According to a survey conducted by Reuters of 22 top economists, however, the housing market is now strong enough to endure a gradual increase in mortgage rates. In fact, all but two of the 22 said they felt rising rates would not hamper sales, citing job creation and growing demand for houses among younger buyers as reasons demand would not be affected. “The recent strength of housing activity suggests the market is well placed to cope with a gradual rise in interest rates,” Capital Economics economist, Matthew Pointon, told Reuters. “Rising rates will also be accompanied by an improving labor market and gradually loosening of credit conditions.” In addition, the surveyed economists felt home price increases wouldn’t be big enough to discourage first-time home buyers but will be enough to encourage current homeowners to put their homes up for sale, which could help address current inventory issues in many markets across the country. More here.

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