The average rate on 30-year mortgages fell to 6.78 percent this week from 6.81 percent the previous week, according to Bankrate’s national survey of large lenders.

After a steep run-up for most of 2022, mortgage rates reversed course after last month’s news that inflation had slowed to 7.7 percent in October.

Mortgage rates are about the perception of inflation,” says Dick Lepre of CrossCountry Mortgage in Alamo, California. “Inflation is by no means contained.”

Rates remain well above their 2021 lows, and the continued run-up has roiled the housing market. The Federal Reserve has been moving aggressively to control inflation, and its fourth consecutive rate hike of three-quarters of a percentage point has created upward pressure on rates — while also raising the risk of a recession.

The Fed doesn’t directly set fixed mortgage rates. The most relevant metric is the 10-year Treasury yield, which has bounced around in recent weeks.

A year ago, the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.2 percent. Four weeks ago, the rate was 7.07 percent. The 30-year fixed-rate average for this week is 3.54 percentage points higher than the 52-week low of 3.24 percent.

The 30-year fixed mortgages in this week’s survey had an average total of 0.43 discount and origination points.

Over the past 52 weeks, the 30-year fixed has averaged 5.27 percent.

Where mortgage rates are headed

Mortgage experts see rates rising as the Fed continues to fight inflation, but the question is how much.

“The inflation beast has not yet been slain,” says Jeff Lazerson of Mortgage Grader. “Higher mortgage rates slow down the beast.”

Derek Egeberg of Academy Mortgage in Yuma, Arizona, agrees. Until you see relief from rising prices, you will not see relief from rising interest rates.

As mortgage rates hover near the 7 percent barrier, competition among homebuyers could ease further, though the jump in rates is also squeezing affordability.

The national median family income for 2022 is $90,000, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the median price of an existing home sold in October was $379,100, according to the National Association of Realtors. Based on a 20 percent down payment and a mortgage rate of 6.78 percent, the monthly payment of $1,973 amounts to 26 percent of the typical family’s monthly income. A year ago, median family income was $79,900, the median home price was $364,600 and the average mortgage rate was 3.13 percent. Buying the typical home then required just 19 percent of a family’s monthly income.

Methodology

The Bankrate.com national survey of large lenders is conducted weekly. 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. Our rates differ from other national surveys, in particular Freddie Mac’s weekly published rates. Each week Freddie Mac surveys lenders on the rates and points based on first-lien prime conventional conforming home purchase mortgages with a loan-to-value of 80 percent. “Lenders surveyed each week are a mix of lender types — thrifts, credit unions, commercial banks and mortgage lending companies — is roughly proportional to the level of mortgage business that each type commands nationwide,” according to Freddie Mac.