Mortgage Rates Feel the Heat: Inflation Fears Push Costs Upward

Mortgage Rates Feel the Heat

Mortgage Rates Feel the Heat

Amidst ongoing inflation concerns, mortgage rates in the US surged to a two-month high last week, adding to the already significant burden already placed on homebuyers. The increase, which was brought on by a report revealing higher-than-expected inflation, presents a worrying image for the real estate market and the entire economy.

Mortgage News Daily reports that the 30-year fixed mortgage’s average rate increased to 7.14%.
After reaching their previous peak in October, mortgage rates dropped precipitously during the following two months, leveling out at roughly 6.6% in December. Last Friday, they increased by more than 7% as a result of an unexpectedly high consumer price report from the government.

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to continue raising interest rates to combat inflation. This, in turn, pushes up mortgage rates, as they are closely linked to the 10-year Treasury yield. Higher rates translate to higher borrowing costs for homebuyers, potentially dampening demand and cooling the housing market.

According to Investopedia, Jumbo 30-year rates saw a major gain as well. Climbing 12 basis points, the jumbo 30-year average is now 6.82%, its highest mark since late November. Though daily historical jumbo rates are not available before 2009, it’s estimated the 7.52% peak reached in October was the most expensive jumbo 30-year average in more than 20 years.

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“There are two ways to look at recent rate trends in light of the data-driven spikes over the past two weeks,” said Matthew Graham, chief operating officer at Mortgage News Daily. “On one hand, we can take solace in the fact that rates are still almost a percent lower than they were in October. On the other, the optimism for lower rates in 2024 has abruptly given way to skepticism.”

Chief economist at Raymond James Eugenio Aleman stated, “Recent elevated inflationary data, including today’s Producer Price Index report, is likely to push yields and therefore mortgages higher, which could prove an additional headwind to the housing market in the near term.”

In January, “the PPI for final demand exceeded expectations, consequent to a CPI report that also disappointed earlier in the week,” he continued.

Since rising interest rates and high home prices discouraged purchasers in the fall of last year, the rate decline at the end of the year had given rise to confidence in the housing market. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the main factor driving the 8% increase in newly constructed home sales in December was reduced interest rates.