Family sitting on outside patio
Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

The benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate surged 10 basis points to 4.88 percent from 4.78 percent over the previous week, according to Bankrate.com’s latest survey of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders. That’s the largest weekly jump since April 25, when the benchmark rate rose 15 basis points, and the highest point for the 30-year fixed rate since May 4, 2011.

The average 15-year fixed rate and the average 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage each climbed 7 basis points to 4.28 percent and 4.27 percent, respectively. A basis point is 1 one hundredth of 1 percent.

Mortgage applications reversed course, ticking up 1.6 percent for the week ending Sept. 14, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s latest weekly survey. That marks just the second time in two months that applications have increased. A 3.7 percent bump in refinance applications led the charge, while purchase applications saw a much smaller gain of 0.3 percent.

“In the first full week following Labor Day, applications bounced back,” said Joel Kan, associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting for the MBA, in a statement. “Purchase applications slowed earlier in the summer, but have shown year-over-year increases for the past five weeks.”

August housing starts jump as single-family permits dwindle

The inventory crunch for single-family homes isn’t getting much help from new construction.

Total housing starts rose 9.2 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.28 million units, up from July’s 1.17 million units, according to a joint release from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Much of the increase, though, came from multifamily starts rather than single-family projects, writes Robert Dietz, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders, in a blog post. The pace of single-family starts rose minimally by 1.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 876,000 units, according to Census and HUD. So far this year, single-family starts are up 6.3 percent as of August, compared with the same period a year ago.

Single-family permits, an indicator of future building, fell 6.1 percent in August from July, but are 6.5 percent higher compared with the first eight months of 2017. Weaker single-family permits, combined with the anticipated aftermath of Hurricane Florence, are likely to be a drag on housing start data in September, Dietz predicts.

“Recent construction trends for single-family match the solid but slightly lower levels of the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, now registering a score of 67,” Dietz writes. “However, builders continue to report concerns about housing affordability, while also noting the benefits of recent declines in lumber prices.”

Mortgage rates this week

The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose this week to 4.88 percent from 4.78 percent, according to Bankrate’s weekly survey of large lenders. Four weeks ago, the rate was 4.66 percent. The 30-year fixed-rate average for this week is 0.08 percentage points above the 52-week high of 4.80 percent, and is 0.85 percentage points higher than the 52-week low of 4.03 percent.

The 30-year fixed mortgages in this week’s survey had an average total of 0.24 discount and origination points.

  • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.28 percent from 4.21 percent.
  • The 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rose to 4.27 percent from 4.20 percent.
  • The 30-year fixed-rate jumbo mortgage rose to 4.82 percent from 4.72 percent.

At the current 30-year fixed rate, you’ll pay $529.51 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, up from $523.46 last week.

At the current 15-year fixed rate, you’ll pay $753.80 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, up from $750.26 last week.

At the current 5/1 ARM rate, you’ll pay $493.11 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, up from $489.02 last week.

Results of Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey of large lenders conducted September 12, 2018 and the effect on monthly payments for a $165,000 loan:

Weekly national mortgage survey
Breakdown 30-year fixed 15-year fixed 5-year ARM
This week’s rate: 4.88% 4.28% 4.27%
Change from last week: +0.10 +0.07 +0.07
Monthly payment: $873.69 $1,243.77 $813.63
Change from last week: +$9.99 +$5.85 +$6.75

The “Bankrate.com National Average,” or “national survey of large lenders,” is conducted weekly. The results of this survey are quoted in our weekly articles and national media outlets. To conduct the National Average survey, Bankrate obtains rate information from the 10 largest banks and thrifts in 10 large U.S. markets. In the Bankrate.com national survey, our Market Analysis team gathers rates and/or yields on banking deposits, loans and mortgages. We’ve conducted this survey in the same manner for more than 30 years, and because it’s consistently done the way it is, it gives an accurate national apples-to-apples comparison.