Mortgage rates jumped sharply this week, as fears of a potentially more aggressive rate hike from the Federal Reserve upset financial markets.
The average rate on the popular 30-year fixed mortgage rose 10 basis points to 6.28% Tuesday, according to Mortgage News Daily. That followed a 33 basis point jump Monday. The rate was 5.55% one week ago.
Rising rates have caused a sharp turnaround in the housing market. Mortgage demand has plummeted. Home sales have fallen for six straight months, according to the National Association of Realtors. Rising rates have so far done little to chill the red-hot home prices fueled by historically strong, pandemic-driven demand and record low supply.
The drastic rate jump this week is the worst since the so-called taper tantrum in July 2013, when investors sent Treasury yields soaring after the Fed said it would slow down its purchases of the bonds.
“The difference back then was that the Fed had simply decided it was time to finally begin unwinding some of the easy policies put into place after the financial crisis,” wrote Matthew Graham, chief operating officer of MND. “This time around, the Fed is in panic mode about runaway inflation.”
Mortgage rates had set more than a dozen record lows in the first year of the pandemic, as the Federal Reserve poured money into mortgage-backed bonds. It recently ended that support and is expected to start offloading its holdings soon.
That caused the rise in rates that began in January, with the average rate starting the year at around 3.25% and pushing higher each month. There was a brief reprieve in May, but it was short-lived.
Higher home prices and rates have crushed home affordability.
For instance, on a $400,000 home, with a 20% down payment, the monthly mortgage payment went from $1,399 at the start of January to $1,976 today, a difference of $577. That does not include homeowners insurance nor property taxes.
It also does not include the fact that the home is about 20% more expensive than it was a year ago.