According to the latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) from Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) slipped lower below the 3% mark, averaging 2.93% this week, down three basis points from last week’s 2.96%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.13%.
According to CNBC, on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve raised its expectations for inflation this year, and brought forward a time frame as to when it will next raise interest rates. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) unanimously left its benchmark short-term borrowing rate anchored near zero, but officials indicated that rate hikes could come as soon as 2023.
“Mortgage rates continue to drift down as markets concur with the view that inflation increases are temporary,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “While mortgage rates are low, purchase demand has weakened over the last couple of months, primarily due to affordability constraints stemming from high home prices. With inventory tight, the slowdown in demand has yet to impact prices, meaning the summer will likely remain a strong seller’s market.”
Sellers continue to cash in as well, with Redfin having examined 400+ U.S. metro areas for the four-week period ending June 6. During that time, the median home-sale price increased 24% year-over-year to $358,749, a record high for this metric. Asking prices of newly-listed homes also hit a new all-time high of $364,725, up 14% from the same time a year ago.
The market is not only strong for sellers, but remains highly competitive for the short stock available, as Redfin reported in the month of May, 70.4% of home offers written by Redfin agents faced competition, down from a revised rate of 73.6% in April.
On the rise this week, Freddie Mac found that the 15-year FRM averaging 2.24% with an average 0.6 point, up slightly from last week when it averaged 2.23%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.58 percent. Dropping this week was the five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), averaging 2.52% with an average 0.3 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.55%. A year ago at this time, the five-year ARM averaged 3.09%.
“The Freddie Mac fixed rate for a 30-year loan moved modestly this week, compared to what may be ahead as the market digests this week’s Fed meeting and projections,” said Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “Inflation remains high, but temporary, and thus not a big concern. Instead, the primary focus is the increase in some FOMC members’ projections for the Fed Funds rate in 2023. As a result of stronger economic progress, more members expect a rate hike or two may be appropriate. This did not change current monetary policy, but reminded investors that even the most patient Fed will eventually reach the conclusion that less monetary support is needed. We’re not there yet, but as long as the economic picture continues to improve, as it has, interest rate increases are expected. The 10-year treasury rates already moved higher following the Fed’s meeting, and we expect mortgage rates to follow.”
Trending upward this week were both purchase apps and refi apps, with the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reporting yesterday that overall mortgage applications rose 4.2% over the previous week, according to the latest Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending June 11, 2021. The MBA found that the refinance share of mortgage activity rose to 61.7% of total applications, from 60.4% the previous week.
One upward trend that may negatively impact the housing market this week was reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, which found for the week ending June 12, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted unemployment claims was 412,000. This is an increase of 37,000 new claims over the previous week's level, marking the first rise in claims in weeks.