Mortgage rates highest in two years

mortgage-rates-riseMortgage rates increased for the sixth week in a row to highs not seen in more than two years.

According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average climbed to 4.13 percent with an average 0.5 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.) It was 4.08 percent a week ago and 3.95 percent a year ago. The 30-year fixed rate hasn’t been this high since October 2014. It has climbed 66 basis points in six weeks. (A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.)

The 15-year fixed-rate average edged up to 3.36 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.34 percent a week ago and 3.19 percent a year ago. The five-year adjustable rate average crept up to 3.17 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.15 percent a week ago and 3.03 percent a year ago.

“The 10-year Treasury yield dipped this week following the release of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey,” Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac chief economist, said in a statement. “As rates continue to climb and the year comes to a close, next week’s [Federal Reserve] meeting will be the talk of the town with the markets 94 percent certain of a quarter-point-rate hike.”

The rapid rise in mortgage rates is due in part to rising long-term bond yields. The 10-year Treasury is one of best indicators of where rates are headed. When yields go up, rates go up.

Although long-term bond yields have retreated a bit this week, they remain significantly higher than they were a month ago.

In an interview with CNBC on Monday, New York federal bank president William Dudley, who along with his colleagues will decide next week whether to raise the Federal Reserve’s benchmark rate, spoke about what’s driving the markets.

“What we’ve seen post-election is we’ve seen bond yields up, equity market up, dollar firmer,” he said. “My judgment is that it seems to be that what people are factoring in is [the] likelihood of more fiscal stimulus and reduced downside risk to the economy.”

Dudley went on to say that the bond market also is experiencing a bit of a “correction.”

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