Thursday, November 5, 2015

Mortgage rates surge in anticipation of Federal Reserve rate hike


Mortgage rates surged this week, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.
Home loan rates began moving higher after the Federal Reserve signaled last week that a December interest rate hike was a possibility. What the Fed does with interest rates doesn’t have a direct relationship to mortgage rates since they are more closely tied to long-term U.S. Treasury yields. Bonds are more likely to move ahead of a Fed action than in response to it.
Still, a lot can happen before the Dec. 16 Fed meeting that could affect home loan rates. Friday’s monthly jobs report could not only strengthen or lessen the chances of a Fed rate hike, it also could have an impact on mortgage rates.

[Fed less worried about risks from China’s slowdown]
The 30-year fixed-rate average jumped to 3.87 percent with an average 0.6 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.) The 11-basis point rise — a basis point is 0.01 percentage point – was the biggest one-week spike since June. The 30-year fixed rate was 3.76 percent a week ago and 4.02 percent a year ago.
The 15-year fixed-rate average climbed to 3.09 percent with an average 0.6 point, rising above the 3 percent mark for the first time in three weeks. It was 2.98 percent a week ago and 3.21 percent a year ago.
[New rules for lenders seem to be raising costs for mortgage consumers]
Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages also rose. The five-year ARM average grew to 2.96 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 2.89 percent a year ago and 2.97 percent a year ago.
The one-year ARM average increased to 2.62 percent with an average 0.2 point. It was 2.54 percent a week ago.
“Treasury yields climbed nearly 20 basis points over the past week, capturing the market movement following last week’s [Federal Open Market Committee] meeting,” Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac chief economist, said in a statement.
“Recent commentary suggests interest rates may rise in the near future.  Janet Yellen referred to a December rate hike as a ‘live possibility’ if incoming information supports it. The October jobs report to be released this Friday will be one crucial factor influencing the FOMC’s decision.”
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Meanwhile, mortgage applications were flat this week, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The market composite index — a measure of total loan application volume – slipped 0.8 percent from the previous week. The refinance index dropped 1 percent, while the purchase index decreased 1 percent.
The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 59.7 percent of all applications.

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