Rates Reverse Course

After falling slightly the week before, mortgage rates shot right back up last week, continuing to fluctuate within the 6% range.

Officials at Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.39%, up from 6.35% the week prior.

A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 5.25%.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage remained unchanged at 5.75%. A year ago, it averaged 4.43%.

“The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.39% this week, as economic crosscurrents have kept rates within a ten-basis point range over the last several weeks,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. 

“After the substantial slowdown in growth last fall, home prices stabilized during the winter and began to modestly rise over the last few months. This indicates that while affordability remains a hurdle, homebuyers are getting used to current rates and continue to pursue homeownership.”

Home prices are down 2.7%, the smallest decline in over a month, and prices are dropping in fewer metros.

This is largely thanks to inventory constraints persisting even as demand inched up for the spring season.

But with prices still up and rates elevated, monthly mortgage payments hit a record high. Homeowners have no incentive to sell in the current market, so the inventory loop keeps going.

“It’s hard to imagine a flood of new listings until rates come down at least into the 5s. For those who are selling now, the silver lining of giving up a low rate is that hardly anyone else is doing the same thing. That means buyers, who are hungry for new listings, will bite–and they don’t have much power to negotiate the price down,” said Redfin Deputy Chief Economist Taylor Marr.

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