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Mortgage Rates vs. Homebuyer Demand

Mortgage rates ticked up again this week, according to data from Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey released on Thursday.

The data indicated that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to 4.12% this week from 4.08% last week. However, they remained low compared to the same time last year when mortgage rates averaged 4.42%.

"Rates moved up slightly this week while mortgage applications decreased following last week’s jump in rates–indicating borrower sensitivity to changing mortgage rates," said Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac.

According to the latest data, mortgage applications saw a 5.6% decrease week over week. Refinances also dropped during the week, down from 47.4% to 44.1% of total applications.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage also increased to 3.60%, up from last week's 3.56%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.87% the report indicated.

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) also inched up to 3.80%  from last week's 3.66%. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.61%.

The report indicated that rates have remained low despite these upticks. According to Khater, Freddie Mac expects "mortgage rates to remain low, in line with the low 10-year treasury yields, boosting homebuyer demand in the next few months."

According to Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, "Mortgage rates ticked up to 4.12 percent, but remain near the lower end of their recent range and 30 basis points below the year-ago levels."

Despite these increases, homebuyers are also likely to remain optimistic this spring buying season as the boost in their purchasing power "along with wage gains is helping homebuyers better cope with higher home prices," Hale said. Additionally, these factors together are likely to lead to improved sales this spring, according to Hale. "Already, mortgage applications for home purchases are up 13 percent over last year’s figures despite the median home listing price hitting $300,000," she said.

About Author: Radhika Ojha

Radhika Ojha is an independent writer and editor. A former Online Editor and currently a reporter for MReport, she is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her master’s degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Houston, Texas.
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