Mortgage rates continued their month-long rise in mid-October as buyers and sellers navigated unusual market conditions.

Rates for 30-year mortgages earlier this week reached their highest levels since April as the U.S. housing market continued to navigate a host of unprecedented conditions.

A month of sharp growth has brought 30-year mortgage rates from 2.88 percent in mid-September to 3.09 percent in this week’s lender survey conducted by Freddie Mac.

“Mortgage rates continued to rise this week due to the trajectory of both the economy and the pandemic,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater said in a statement. “Even as the availability of existing homes is improving, prices remain high due to homebuyer demand and limitations on housing starts and permits resulting from the ongoing labor and material shortages.”

For the week ending Oct. 21, Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey reported average rates for the following types of loans:

  • For 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, rates averaged 3.09 percent with an average 0.7 point, up from last week’s 3.05 percent figure and higher than its 2.80 percent mark from a year ago. Rates for 30-year loans hit an all-time low of 2.65 percent during the week ending Jan. 7, 2021, according to records dating to 1971.
  • Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.33 percent with an average 0.7 point, ticking up slightly from last week’s 2.30 percent while matching its 2.33 percent mark a year ago. The all-time low rate for 15-year loans was 2.10 percent set the week ending Aug. 5, 2021, according to records dating to 1991.
  • For 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans, rates averaged 2.54 percent with an average 0.3 point, down slightly from 2.55 percent last week and lower than 2.87 percent a year ago. Rates on 5-year ARM loans are still resting above the record-low 2.40 percent rate set during the week ending Aug. 5, 2021.

Lenders who participate in Freddie Mac’s survey report average rates for borrowers with excellent credit who are able to put 20 percent down on a home. Results vary for different types of borrowers, with lower credit typically going hand in hand with higher rates.

As mortgage rates have risen in recent weeks, applications for new purchase loans have declined.

In a separate survey conducted by the Mortgage Bankers Association, lenders revealed that demand for purchase loans dropped 5 percent this week compared to last, and were down 12 percent compared to the same period last year. Refinance applications had also seen four consecutive weeks of decline, the report said.

Mortgage rates could climb as high as 4 percent by the end of 2022, economists at the association projected in a Sept. 21 report.

But demand remains high from a historical standpoint, and an environment with rising mortgage rates and limited inventory has continued to place the housing market in an extraordinary position.

“Despite these countervailing forces, we expect the housing market to remain strong as we head into the end of the year,” Khater said in the Freddie Mac release.

Email Daniel Houston

homebuying | lenders
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