The average rate on the popular 30-year fixed mortgage just crossed 5%, now standing at 5.02% according to Mortgage News Daily. This is the first time it has crossed that threshold since 2011, save two days in 2018. It stood at 3.38% one year ago today.
Mortgage rates, which follow loosely the yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury, have been climbing since the start of the year, partially due to the Federal Reserve’s policies to curb inflation as well as the global economic turmoil resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Bonds were already having a rough morning, but then comments from Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard, saying the pace of the Fed’s balance sheet reductions would be significantly bigger than last time and that the maximum pace of reductions would be achieved significantly sooner, hit bonds hard.
“To hear her speak about bond-buying adjustments in such blunt, urgent terms is unsettling for the market with just over 24 hours to go before we see the minutes from the most recent Fed meeting,” said Matthew Graham, chief operating officer at Mortgage News Daily. “At this point, traders are taking Brainard’s comments to foreshadow an extremely unfriendly conversation about bond buying to be revealed in the minutes.”
For homebuyers already facing the priciest housing market in recorded history, higher rates are only adding to the pain. Another report released this morning from CoreLogic showed prices in February were up a stunning 20% from a year ago. That is the 12th consecutive month of annual increases.