Mortgage Rates Hit Highest Point in Over Three Years

Mortgage Weekly Update

Mortgage rates continued their upward climbing this week, averaging 4.42% on 30-year, fixed-rate loans, according to Freddie Mac. That’s up more than a quarter of a point from last week’s 4.16% rate, and a significant jump from the 3.17% rate seen a year ago. Mortgage rates are now at their highest point since January 2019.

The jump is no surprise, particularly with recent news from the Federal Reserve, which announced last week it would raise the federal funds rate for the first time in four years.

“The jump in rates comes as markets moved to price in a much faster pace of rate hikes, as well as expectations of fewer MBS purchases from the Federal Reserve,” said Mike Fratantoni, senior vice president and chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association. “MBA’s new March forecast expects mortgage rates to continue to trend higher through the course of 2022.”

On the back of rate increases, mortgage applications dropped for the week. According to MBA, overall loan applications fell 8%. Purchase loan activity decreased by 2%, while refinances dipped 14% compared to the week prior. They now account for just 44% of all loan activity, down from 48% a week ago.

“Purchase application volume was down slightly for the week, with a larger drop in FHA and VA purchase volume, and a small decline in conventional purchase loans,” Frantantoni said. “First-time homebuyers, who rely on these government programs, are increasingly challenged by both the rapid increase in home prices and higher mortgage rates. Repeat homebuyers, who are more likely to use conventional loans, benefit from the gains in home equity realized on a sale which can be used to fuel their next purchase, even with rates moving higher.”  

More in mortgage & housing news

  • The Census Bureau released its New Residential Sales report for February this week, and the news wasn’t great. According to the data, new home sales were down 2% from January and more than 6% from Feburary last year. The median sale price was just over $400,000.
  • According to new data from Realtor.com, February was the seventh consecutive month for double-digit rent growth. Rents jumped 17% across all properties types, rising the most on studios. Miami clocked the highest rent growth by city, notching a 22.5% uptick over the year.
  • Nearly a third of homebuyers are now looking to relocate outside their metro area, according to Redfin search data. That’s up significantly from the 26% seen pre-pandemic and the highest share since at least 2017, when Redfin started tracking this data.

This week in mortgage rates

Mortgage rates increased across the board again this week. Here’s how the shook out by loan type:

Check back next week for the most up-to-date mortgage and housing news.

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By Aly Yale / March 24th, 2022 / Categories: / Tags:

Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at AlyJYale.com or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.