It was fun while it lasted. This week, rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage topped 4 percent for the first time since July.
Rates averaged 4.01 percent, according to Freddie Mac’s benchmark survey, up from 3.96 percent last week. At this time last year, 30-year, fixed-rate loans averaged 3.87 percent.
Rates have had nowhere to go but up for a very long time, and they’ll probably continue to rise. A gradual increase shouldn’t have a serious impact on the housing market, though it could affect house hunters struggling with affordability, such as lower-income and first-time buyers.
And don’t blame this week’s rate increase on the Fed. Yes, Chair Janet Yellen and her crew raised short-term borrowing costs earlier this month, but mortgage rates are affected by a lot of things, including global events that have nothing to do with the housing market. In this case, rates rose because of a jump in consumer confidence, according to Freddie chief economist Sean Becketti.
Like us, Becketti expects rates to rise slowly. By this time next year, a mortgage will cost 4.7 percent, according to his forecast. That’s still low. Remember this chart: