Mortgage rates shoot upward (again)by Tim Manni
Rates on the most popular types of mortgages rose sharply again, according to HSH.com’s Weekly Mortgage Rates Radar. The average rate for conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgages leapt by 16 basis points (0.16 percent) to 4.61 percent. Conforming 5/1 Hybrid ARM rates also rose 16 basis points, closing the Wednesday-to-Tuesday wraparound weekly survey at an average of 3.46 percent.
“Strengthening employment data put the bond and mortgage markets on the defensive again,” said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com. “The employment report for June, released last Friday, was firmer than expected, and upward revisions to April and May figures showed that hiring is on stronger footing than was previously believed.”
The Federal Reserve has stated that it would like to wind down its QE programs for purchasing mortgage-backed securities and Treasuries as the unemployment rate approaches 7 percent. In June, it remained at 7.6 percent.
“Although the unemployment rate didn’t budge during the month, the growth in hiring makes it more likely that it will decline sooner rather than later,” added Gumbinger. “Investors continue to adjust their bond and mortgage holdings, hoping to get out of the way of the Fed’s pending moves. Until the tapering of QE actually begins, probably in September but perhaps later, volatility in mortgage rates is likely to continue.”
Since hitting 2013 lows in early May, fixed mortgage rates have risen by more than a percentage point and are at levels last seen in August 2011.
Mortgage applications declining
Mortgage applications sunk again last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. For the week ending July 5, mortgage applications were down 4 percent from the week prior.
The refinance share of applications was also down 4 percent, and now represents just 64 percent of total applications. HARP applications accounted for 35 percent of all refinance applications, up 1 percent from the week prior.
Purchase applications were down 3 percent, and ARM activity decreased last week, representing just 7 percent of total applications.