Mortgage Rates, Purchase Activity Hold Steady; Refis Drop

Mortgage Weekly Update

Yet again, mortgage rates held steady this week, averaging 3.12% on 30-year, fixed-rate loans. That’s up only slightly from 3.10% the week prior, according to Freddie Mac.

Purchase loan activity held steady too. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, applications to purchase a home increased just 1% this week.

As MBA’s Joel Kan put it, “Housing demand remains strong as the year comes to an end amidst tight inventory and steep home price growth.”

Refinances, on the other hand, went the other direction. Applications to refinance dropped 6% over the week and were significantly lower than the same week a year ago.

“With rates more than 40 basis points higher than last year, applications were down 41% on an annual basis,” said Kan, associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting for MBA. “Fewer homeowners have a strong incentive to refinance at current rates.”

More in mortgage & housing news

  • The Federal Reserve announced it is speeding up its pullback on mortgage-backed security purchases in light of rising inflation. This should send mortgage rates higher as we get into 2022. Rates have already increased nearly 40 basis points since their low point this year.
  • Home builder confidence has increased for the last four consecutive months, according to the National Association of Home Builders. It’s now at its highest point since February, though labor shortages and rising material costs are still major challenges heading into the new year.
  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have both announced mortgage relief options for homeowners impacted by last week’s tornadoes. Both are offering up to 12 months of mortgage forbearance for those affected.
  • Foreclosure filings were a mixed bag in November, falling compared to October but still notching a year-over-year gain of 94%. According to ATTOM Data Solutions, it was the seventh-straight month of annual increases.

This week in mortgage rates

Mortgage rates largely held steady on all loan products this week, with only slight fluctuations on 15- and 30-year mortgages.

Here’s how rates looked for each loan type:

Make sure to check back here next week for the latest mortgage rates and news.

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By Aly Yale / December 16th, 2021 / 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 or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.