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Mortgage Rates Rocket Back Above 5%, But Market ‘Stabilizing’

Though weekly changes in borrowing costs are volatile, housing activity is reaching more balanced levels—which is ultimately suitable for buyers, says Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

August 11, 2022, | Melissa Dittmann Tracey

Home buyers are having difficulty gauging opportunities to save on a property purchase as mortgage rates become more volatile. The average for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage swung above 5% again this week, clocking in at 5.22%, Freddie Mac reports. Last week, the average for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.99%. However, rates may not go much higher: Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, says falling inflation in July may suggest mortgage rates are topping out.

“Although rates continue to fluctuate, recent data suggest that the housing market is stabilizing as it transitions from the surge of activity during the pandemic to a more balanced market,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Declines in purchase demand continue to diminish while supply remains fairly tight across most markets. The consequence is that house prices likely will continue to rise, but at a slower pace for the rest of the summer.”

The National Association of REALTORS® reported this week that housing affordability decreased precipitously in the second quarter, driven by a sharp rise in rates and double-digit home price increases. The average monthly mortgage payment on a typical existing single-family home (assuming a 20% down payment) climbed to $1,841, marking an increase of $444 compared to the first quarter.

Households are spending 24.3% of their income on mortgage payments, up from 16.9% a year ago, according to NAR data. First-time home buyers are getting hit hardest, typically spending about 37% of their household income on mortgage payments. Most financial experts consider households to be cost-burdened when they spend more than 25% of their income on housing.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending on Aug. 11:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 5.22%, with an average 0.7 point, rising from last week’s 4.99% average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 2.87%.

  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.59%, with an average 0.7 point, increasing from last week’s 4.26% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.15%.

  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 4.43%, with an average 0 point, increasing from last week’s 4.25% average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.44%.

Freddie Mac reports commitment rates along with average points to better reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining a mortgage.

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