Fixed-mortgage rates continued to increase for the eighth straight week for the period ending March 1, according to results of the Primary Mortgage Market Survey released by Freddie Mac.
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.43%, with an average 0.5 point, rising from the 4.4% average in the prior survey. The latest average also marks a year-over-year increase from 4.1%.
Rates for the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to a 3.9% average, with an average 0.5 point, compared with 3.85% in the previous period. Compared to the same week in 2017, rates for the mortgage increased from a 3.32% average.
The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.62%, with an average 0.4 point, down slightly from 3.65% in the prior period. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.14%.
Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Len Kiefer said the increase reflects a gain in Treasury yields following Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s testimony on Capitol Hill where he said his outlook for the economy has improved since December.
“Following Treasurys, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate jumped three basis points to reach 4.43% in this week's survey. The 30-year rate has been on a tear in 2018, climbing 48 basis points since the start of the year and increasing for eight consecutive weeks,” Kiefer said.
Despite the increase in mortgage rates, Kiefer said he expects the US housing market to continue growing modestly in 2018 given a stronger economy and pent-up housing demand.
“We really have to wait for housing markets to heat up in spring, but early indications are that housing demand remains robust to these rate increases. The MBA reported in their latest weekly applications survey that home purchase mortgage originations were up 3% from a year ago," he said.
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