Real Estate

Mortgage Rates Continue To Inch Upward Amid ‘Sluggish’ Housing Market

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.54% as of July 21, according to data released by Freddie Mac on Thursday. That’s up 3 basis points from the previous week—one basis point is equal to one hundredth of a percentage point, or 1% of 1%.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 8 basis points over the past week to 4.75%. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 4.31%, down 4 basis points from the prior week.

“The housing market remains sluggish as mortgage rates inch up for a second
consecutive week,” Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac, said in a statement.

“Consumer concerns about rising rates, inflation and a potential recession are manifesting in softening demand,” he added, so as “a result of these factors, we expect house price appreciation to moderate noticeably.”

The interest-rate-sensitive U.S. housing market is in the midst of a broad slowdown, partly because of the Federal Reserve’s battle against high inflation.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, said on Wednesday that he expects home price appreciation will slow to 5% by the end of the year and will perhaps be a little slower in 2023. But Yun said he was not forecasting a nationwide price decline.

But higher interest rates are pushing borrowing costs higher, making renting a cheaper option than owning a home in many cities, even as rents are sky-high.

Other signs of a cooling market include a drop in existing home sales, which fell in June, and waning homebuilder confidence, which also fell in July, indicating that housing supply may be constrained moving forward. Meanwhile, mortgage application volume fell to a fresh 22-year low.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dipped below 2.99% in morning trading.

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