Mortgage Rates Hit 2015 Highs as Homebuyers Take a Breather

Mortgage Rates, Mortgages
Mortgage Rates Hit 2015 Highs as Homebuyers Take a Breather

Mortgage Market Roundup: Interest Rates (7/2/15)

Consumers may have been more interested in planning their holiday vacation than a relocation as mortgage applications fell and interest rates edged upward this week. Mortgage rates are now at new 2015 highs.

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 4.08% with an average 0.6 point for the week ending July 2, 2015, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly market survey. A year ago, the rate averaged 4.12%.
  • 15-year fixed rates moved to 3.24% with an average 0.6 point. The same term priced at 3.22% a year ago.
  • 5-year adjustable-rate mortgages headed up to 2.99% with an average 0.4 point. Last year at this time the same ARM averaged 2.98%

“Overseas events are generating significant day-to-day volatility in interest rates,” said Sean Becketti, chief economist for Freddie Mac, in a release. “The [Mortgage Bankers Association] composite index of mortgage applications fell 4.7% in response to what is now three consecutive weeks of mortgage rates over 4%. Other measures, however, confirmed continued strength in housing — pending home sales rose 0.9%, exceeding expectations, and the Case-Shiller house price index recorded another solid increase.”

The MBA’s weekly survey of lenders also reported refinance applications fell by 5% for the week ending June 26.

Mortgage Rates Hit 2015 Highs as Homebuyers Take a Breather

Home sales on track for best year since 2006

Lower loan activity for the most recent week may be more of a quick side trip than a major change in direction as the housing industry continues to be on track for its best year since 2006. Realtor.com’s most recent analysis of residential inventory and demand shows pending home sales are at their highest level in nine years.

“Factors lending themselves to the market’s upswing are the psychological effect of recently increased mortgage rates as well as the specter of the Fed raising interest rates later this year,” said Realtor.com Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke. “Although demand has been strong all year, in June we’re finally beginning to see an uptick in supply as sellers become more confident about home prices.”

A refinance ‘boomlet’ is on

Meanwhile, mortgage origination balances in the first quarter were up nearly 75% over a year ago. Equifax, a leading credit data supplier, says a “refinance boomlet” sparked by a drop in mortgage rates spurred the gains in mortgage loans, home equity lines of credit and home equity installment loans.

First mortgage loans averaged $232,547 in March, up 11.5% from one year ago.

“While home sales are hopping, Equifax data also indicates that lending conditions remain very tight, with just 4.5% of new first mortgage accounts going to consumers with credit scores below 620, a measure often used to describe subprime credit,” said Equifax Chief Economist Amy Crews Cutts in a statement. “In the first quarter of 2008, over 10% of first mortgages went to subprime-credit borrowers.”

Hottest home markets in the country

The 10 hottest housing markets in the country, according to number of views per listing on Realtor.com as well as the median age of inventory in each market in June 2015, were:

  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California
  • Vallejo-Fairfield, California
  • Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado
  • Santa Rosa, California
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts/New Hampshire
  • Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Michigan
  • Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California

Nationally, the median list price increased to $233,000, up 7% year-over-year and 2% over May, according to Realtor.com.

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Hal Bundrick is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: hal@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @halmbundrick


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