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US mortgage rates continue to rise as applications fall – view from across the pond

  • 03/05/2024
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US mortgage rates continue to rise as applications fall – 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.

The latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey from the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) revealed the average 30-year fixed rate was 7.22%, up from 7.17% a week ago. 

This was higher than the 6.39% average during the same time last year. 

Meanwhile, the average 15-year fixed rate was 6.47% this week, an increase from last week’s 6.44%. 

Again, this was up on a year ago, when the 15-year fixed average mortgage rate was 5.76%.

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said: “The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased for the fifth consecutive week as we enter the heart of spring homebuying season. 

“On average, more than one-third of home sales for the entire year occur between March and June. With two months left of this historically busy period, potential homebuyers will likely not see relief from rising rates anytime soon. However, many seem to have acclimated to these higher rates, as demonstrated by the recently released pending home sales data coming in at the highest level in a year.” 


US mortgage applications tumble 

Mortgage applications decreased by 2.3%, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA’s) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s SVP and chief economist, said: “Inflation remains stubbornly high, and this trend is convincing markets that rates, including mortgage rates, are going to stay higher for longer. No doubt, this is a headwind for the housing and mortgage markets. 

“Application volume for both purchase and refinances declined over the week and remain[s] well below last year’s pace. One notable trend is that the adjustable-rate mortgage [ARM] share has reached its highest level for the year at 7.8%. Prospective homebuyers are looking for ways to improve affordability, and switching to an ARM is one means of doing that, with ARM rates in the mid-6% range for loans with an initial fixed period of five years.” 

The share of mortgage refinance activity fell to 30.2% of total applications, down from 30.8% during the previous week. 

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