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Newsfeed: US Mortgage Rates Rise for the Ninth Time in Ten Weeks

In the week ending May 12, mortgage rates rose for the ninth time in ten weeks.

30-year fixed rates rose by three basis points to 5.30%. 30-year fixed rates jumped by 17 basis points in the week prior.

Year-on-year, 30-year fixed rates were up by 236 basis points.

30-year fixed rates were up by 36 basis points since November 2018’s last peak of 4.94%.

Economic Data from the Week

Inflation was back in focus, which caused market turbulence mid-week.

In April, the annual rate of inflation softened from 8.5% to 8.3% versus a forecasted 8.1%. The core annual rate of inflation eased from 6.5% to 6.2%. While softer, inflation was stronger than anticipated, supporting the more hawkish sentiment towards Fed monetary policy.

Market jitters over the rising risk of a recession together with persistent inflation tested support for riskier assets.

Freddie Mac Rates

The weekly average rates for new mortgages, as of May 12, 2022, were quoted by Freddie Mac to be:

  • 30-year fixed rates rose by three basis points to 5.30%. This time last year, rates stood at 3.06%. The average fee remained unchanged at 0.9 points.
  • 15-year fixed rates fell by four basis points to 4.48% in the week. Rates were up by 222 basis points from 2.26% a year ago. The average fee increased from 0.8 points to 0.9 points.
  • 5-year fixed rates increased by two basis points to 3.98%. Rates were up by 139 basis points from 2.58% a year ago. The average fee rose from 0.2 points to 0.3 points.

According to Freddie Mac,

  • Homebuyers showed resilience despite rising mortgage rates driving monthly payments up by around one-third compared with last year.
  • A surge of first-time buyers supported buying demand.
  • Monetary policy and inflation may discourage consumers in the months ahead, weakening purchase demand and slowing home price growth.

Mortgage Bankers’ Association Rates

For the week ending May 6, 2022, the rates were:

  • Average interest rates for 30-year fixed with conforming loan balances increased from 5.36% to 5.53%. Points rose from 0.63 to 0.73 (incl. origination fee) for 80% LTV loans.
  • Average 30-year fixed mortgage rates backed by FHA increased from 5.27% to 5.37%. Points rose from 0.85 to 0.87 (incl. origination fee) for 80% LTV loans.
  • Average 30-year rates for jumbo loan balances increased from 4.92% to 5.08 %. Points declined from 0.43 to 0.42 (incl. origination fee) for 80% LTV loans.

Weekly figures released by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed that the Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased by 2.0%. The Index rose by 2.5% in the previous week.

The Refinance Index declined by 2% and was 72% lower than the same week one year ago. In the week prior, the Index rose by 0.2%.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased from 33.9% to 32.4% of total applications. In the previous week, the share decreased from 35.0% to 33.9%.

According to the MBA,

  • The increase in mortgage applications came despite mortgage rates hitting their highest level since 2009.
  • While it is a slow start to the spring homebuying season, prospective buyers are showing interest amidst the higher rate environment.
  • Purchase activity has increased for two consecutive weeks.
  • The sharp rise in mortgage rates continues to hit the refinance market, with activity down 70% from a year ago.

For the week ahead

On Tuesday, retail sales will be the area of focus.

While the numbers will influence, Fed Chair Powell and FOMC member chatter will also be the key in the week. The markets will be looking for Fed Chair Powell to back up comments from Friday and for members to align with his assurances.

Last Friday, the Fed Chair assured the markets that larger rate hikes were off the table.

Fed Chair Powell is to deliver a speech on Tuesday.

Away from the economic calendar, news updates from China on lockdown measures and from Ukraine and Russia will also influence.

This article was originally posted on FX Empire

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