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US mortgage rates stabilise as buyers return – view from across the pond

  • 30/01/2024
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US mortgage rates stabilise as buyers return – view from across the pond
Mortgage Solutions takes its regular weekly look across the Atlantic and examines what’s going on in the US mortgage market.

Average rates in the US mortgage market rose marginally this week but remained well below seven per cent. In its latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) revealed that 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 6.69 per cent, up from last week when they stood at 6.6 per cent. A year ago, the average rate was 6.13 per cent.

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said: “The 30-year fixed-rate has remained within a very narrow range over the last month, settling in at 6.69 per cent this week.

“Given this stabilisation in rates, potential homebuyers with affordability concerns have jumped off the fence back into the market. Despite persistent inventory challenges, we anticipate a busier spring homebuying season than 2023, with home prices continuing to increase at a steady pace.”

The 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 5.96 per cent, a fall from 5.76 per cent last week. A year ago, the average stood at 5.17 per cent.


Application rise alongside rates in US mortgage market

A separate survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) noted that rates had also risen. However, there was still an upturn in mortgage applications, which rose by 3.7 per cent from one week earlier.

The MBA reported that the average rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages rose to 6.78 per cent, up from last week’s 6.75 per cent. Meanwhile, the average rate for the 15-year equivalent increased to 6.31 per cent from 6.24 per cent last week.

Joel Kan, MBA’s vice president and deputy chief economist, said: “Mortgage rates increased slightly last week, but there continues to be an upward trend in purchase activity. Conventional and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) purchase applications [government-backed mortgage] drove most of the increase last week as some buyers moved to act early this season.

“Refinance [remortgaging] applications declined over the week and remained at low levels. There is still little incentive for homeowners to refinance with rates at these levels.”

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