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Mortgage Rates Break Out of Downward Cycle

The downward slope of mortgage rates has seen a shift in the opposite direction, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS).

The average 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages experienced upward movement for the first time in 2017. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.19 percent for the week ended January 26, 2017, rising from 4.09 percent in the previous week. During this time last year, the average 30-year rate was hovering around 3.79 percent.

The 15-year rate averaged 3.40 percent, up from 3.34 percent the previous week and higher than 2015’s 3.07 percent during the same time-period. The report notes that the 30-year rate increase exactly matched the 10-year Treasury yield increase of 10 basis points.

“This week marks the first increase in the mortgage rate since December 29,” stated Freddie Mac chief economist Sean Becketti. He does not expect the higher mortgage rate to cause any significant downward movement in housing prices.

In fact, the shortened supply of homes for sale should keep home prices relatively high for the foreseeable future. “The 2.8 percent decline in existing home sales in December is a reminder of the lack of homes for sale. According to the National Association of Realtors, supply is at its lowest level since 1999, a factor that should support higher house prices regardless of the oscillations of the mortgage rate."

The movement in the rate should not be taken as sign of a continual trend, as the ongoing volatility will likely continue for some time. “Rates have been rather volatile since November, and such moves are not that unusual,” noted HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger.

Gumbinger goes on to state that “it's a reasonable bet that headlines of higher mortgage rates won't be exactly welcomed by homebuyers or homeowners looking to refinance,” but he doesn’t think that the increase in the rate will have a meaningful effect on borrowers who are in the process of buying a home, as the costs incurred due to the increase are rather minimal.

About Author: Timothy McNally

Tim McNally is a journalist with experience in business reporting. His journalism career began with Houston Energy Insider as an Energy Reporter, which eventually led him to secure a position with OILMAN Magazine as Digital Content Manager. McNally is a native Texan, and he received his degree in Finance from the University of St. Thomas. He is a staff writer for the MReport.
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