Mortgage rates increased 1 basis point to 4.52 percent, according to Bankrate’s weekly survey of large lenders. That’s the seventh consecutive week of increases and the highest point for the 30-year fixed since April 2014, when the average rate was 4.54 percent.
Meanwhile, home sales dropped across the country in January, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors. The 3.2 percent drop, to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.38 million units last month, is the second monthly drop in a row.
Most experts attribute the drop in sales to a shortage of inventory rather than rising rates. Greg McBride, CFA, chief financial analyst for Bankrate.com, says that limited inventory of available homes for sale is putting a crimp in home sales, not small upticks in mortgage rates as the strong economy is motivating buyers.
McBride says that although a well-qualified buyer might have to buy a different house at 4.5 percent than they would at 4 percent, it won’t deter them completely.
“In the short-term, rising rates will rob the housing market of some momentum, but it won’t derail it altogether,” McBride says.
Inflation drives up mortgage rates
Inflation rose an unexpected 2.1 percent in January compared with a year earlier, according to the Consumer Price Index, as consumers spent more on gas, rent and health care. This hike in inflation influences mortgage rates as the Federal Reserve has to offset a tightening labor market, massive tax cuts and increased, new government spending to the tune of $300 billion.
“Mortgage rates have continued to move higher amid evidence in a pickup of inflation and greater government borrowing,” McBride says. “As yields on long-term bonds go, so too do mortgage rates.”
The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose this week to 4.52 percent from 4.51 percent, according to Bankrate’s weekly survey of large lenders. A year ago, it was 4.29 percent. Four weeks ago, the rate was 4.27 percent. The 30-year fixed-rate average for this week matches the 52-week high of 4.52 percent, and is 0.57 percentage points higher than the 52-week low of 3.95 percent.
The 30-year fixed mortgages in this week’s survey had an average total of 0.31 discount and origination points.
Over the past 52 weeks, the 30-year fixed has averaged 4.15 percent. This week’s rate is 0.37 percentage points higher than the 52-week average.
- The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.94 percent from 3.90 percent.
- The 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rose to 3.98 percent from 3.93 percent.
- The 30-year fixed-rate jumbo mortgage rose to 4.51 percent from 4.45 percent.
At the current 30-year fixed rate, you’ll pay $507.87 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, up from $507.28 last week.
At the current 15-year fixed rate, you’ll pay $736.68 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, up from $734.69 last week.
At the current 5/1 ARM rate, you’ll pay $476.26 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, up from $473.39 last week.
Results of Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey of large lenders conducted Feb. 21, 2018, and the effect on monthly payments for a $165,000 loan:
|Breakdown||30-year fixed||15-year fixed||5-year ARM|
|This week’s rate:||4.52%||3.94%||3.98%|
|Change from last week:||+0.01||+0.04||+0.05|
|Change from last week:||+$0.98||+$3.30||+$4.74|