Mortgage Interest Rates Forecast

Jul 1, 2022

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Mortgage rates today: Friday, July 1, 2022

On Friday, July 1, 2022, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell two basis points to 5.595% APR. The average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage also dropped two basis points to 4.718% APR, and the average rate on a 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage went up nine basis points to 4.45% APR, according to rates provided to NerdWallet by Zillow. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is one basis point higher than one week ago and 271 basis points higher than one year ago. A basis point is one one-hundredth of one percent. Rates are expressed as an annual percentage rate, or APR.

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Mortgage rates this week

Mortgage rates shifted slightly in the week ending June 30. Although the 30-year fixed went down, it's still about 2.5 percentage points higher than at the beginning of the year.

  • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.7% APR, down 13 basis points from the previous week's average.

  • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.91% APR, unchanged from the previous week's average.

  • The 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 4.45% APR, up 8 basis points from the previous week's average.

Meanwhile, pending home sales inched up in May over April, but were down 13.6% from a year ago, according to a National Association of Realtors index.

The index is an early sign of how things are going in the housing market. A sale is pending when the buyer and homeowner have signed a contract but haven't closed the deal yet.

Year-over-year pending sales are down because it costs more to get a home loan, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a press release. Home prices are also higher, with the median existing-home sales price topping $400,000 for the first time in May, a 14.8% jump from a year ago, according to the NAR. As a result, the monthly mortgage payment for a median-priced home with a 10% down payment is up by about $800 from the beginning of the year, per the NAR press release.

If you're looking to buy a home, keep in touch with your lender. Make sure your mortgage preapproval, which indicates how much you're qualified to borrow, is current. Resist the temptation to stretch for a home beyond your means, and lean on your real estate agent to find suitable properties. It could take a while.

» MORE: Details on the June Federal Reserve meeting

June mortgage rates forecast

Mortgage rates might be volatile in June. A graph of them may resemble the cutting side of a handsaw, with sharp daily ups and downs. I predict that the average rate on a 30-year mortgage will be higher in the last week of June than in the last week of May.

I'm not brimming with confidence in this forecast. One source of uncertainty arises in the middle of the month, when the Federal Reserve meets to hash out monetary policy. As of late May, financial markets were expecting the Fed to raise the overnight federal funds rate by half a percentage point on June 15.

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Experience tells you that when the Fed raises short-term interest rates, then long-term mortgage rates will go up, too. But when the stock market takes a beating (which is what happened in May), that tends to depress mortgage rates. What if investors worry that the Fed's aggressive rate increases will cause a recession soon? In that case, mortgage rates might not rise much, or they could even fall.

To summarize: Mortgage rates probably will rise in June, but that's not a sure thing. Meantime, we could see substantial bumps and dips day to day.

Exiting a period of steady rates

Mortgage rates were relatively tranquil from autumn 2020 to the middle of December 2021. A graph of rates during that period would be a more-or-less straight line with little squiggles day to day and week to week.

Government intervention was responsible for that era of steady mortgage rates. The Federal Reserve accomplished it by buying billions of dollars' worth of mortgage-backed securities every month. This meant that lenders knew they would easily find investors to buy the mortgages they underwrote: If private investors didn't want them, the Fed would buy them.

Lenders kept rates low and steady during this time, knowing they could easily find buyers for their loans. But the period of tranquility ended when the Fed announced in mid-December that it would quickly reduce its purchases of mortgage-backed securities at the beginning of the new year. Lenders didn't wait until January for the Fed to follow through; they raised mortgage rates at the end of December, and kept raising rates into the spring.

Then, in January, the Fed announced that it would slam the brakes on mortgages even harder in February. In March the Fed said it would no longer increase its mortgage holdings. Mortgage rates steadily increased.

Entering an era of unstable rates

The central bank has accumulated hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of mortgage-backed securities since the beginning of the pandemic. In May, it  pledged to start shrinking those holdings in June. The Fed plans to reduce the amount of mortgage-backed securities it owns by up to $17.5 billion a month from June through August, then by up to $35 billion a month after that.

This means that the government is reversing its intervention in mortgage markets. Instead of adding mortgage-backed securities to its balance sheet, the Fed is letting them drain off. When the Fed was accumulating mortgages, rates remained low and steady. Now that the Fed is shedding mortgages, it's reasonable to expect rates to trend upward, and to have bigger up-and-down swings day to day and week to week.

This volatility will add stress when deciding whether to lock a mortgage rate today or wait until tomorrow. The time-honored advice is to "lock on the dips" — to lock on a day when the rate falls, on the theory that it will soon rise again. Your loan officer may offer guidance, but keep in mind that day-to-day rate movements are unpredictable.

What happened in May

Mortgage rates rose in May, as I predicted. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.32% in May, compared with 5.09% in April. My predictions have been correct in eight of the last 12 months.

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