Mortgage Rates: No Tantrums Here, Just Cheap Loans

Housing Market News

Mortgage Rates: No Tantrums Here, Just Cheap Loans

Good economic news pushed mortgage rates up last week, with a 30-year fixed loan averaging 3.45 percent. A year ago, rates averaged 3.94 percent, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey.

mortgage rates
Source: Freddie Mac
Rates edged higher after a closely watched report on job creation came in strong, surprising economists and markets. The upbeat employment news has more people betting the Federal Reserve will raise its own short-term interest rates when it meets in September.
The Fed doesn’t control the cost of home loans, but it can affect the direction of mortgage rates. In 2013, rates shot up after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke hinted that the central bank would ease up on its purchases of mortgage debt. Financial markets threw a “taper tantrum” that sent interest rates up and threw the housing recovery off course. mortgage rates
Source: Freddie Mac
Today, there’s a chance that improved economic news out of Europe and job growth in the U.S. might cause Janet Yellen’s Fed to raise rates more quickly than markets expect. But even if Yellen & Co. make a move, don’t fret. It’s unlikely we’ll see a repeat of the taper tantrum.
“We doubt the impact on the mortgage market would be as bad as it was in 2013” if the Fed raises rates, Wells Fargo economists wrote in a note to clients. Fed officials have been signaling that they might be ready to raise rates, so markets shouldn’t be surprised like last time. And while home loans have been cheaper in the aftermath of Brexit, they’ve been pretty stable.

The upshot

Don’t cry. Rates have held below 4 percent for 32 weeks, the second-longest run of cheap borrowing the U.S. has ever had. The record was set from March 2012 to June 2013, when the cost of a 30-year loan held below 4 percent for 65 weeks.

Borrowing will remain cheap for now and home price growth is slowing, which is good for homebuyers.

mortgage rates
Source: Freddie Mac
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