Mixed news on inflation drove the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage to its highest rate in almost four years. Short-term adjustable-rate loans got a bit of relief.
The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 6 basis points to 6.73 percent, according to the Bankrate.com national survey of large lenders. A basis point is one-hundredth of 1 percentage point. The mortgages in this week's survey had an average total of 0.34 discount and origination points. One year ago, the mortgage index was 5.78 percent; four weeks ago, it was 6.57 percent.
The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 3 basis points to 6.33 percent. The 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage fell 2 basis points to 6.33 percent.
The last time the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage had a higher rate was June 12, 2002, when it was 6.74 percent. The week after that, it fell to 6.6 percent and remained below that mark for 200 weeks. It looks like those days are gone.
The long term trend has been up. Although, there are some in the housing industrial complex who are dismissive.
"That sounds kind of bad, but Michael Carliner, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders, isn't freaking out yet.
"I wouldn't base it on one month," says Carliner, who is a strong advocate for the position that a single event doesn't make a trend. "If we continue to see prices rise, I think this is outside the Fed's comfort zone. If this is not a single-month spike -- a fluke -- then I think they're going to keep raising rates, and that also the long-term market is going to be influenced by it as well."
Higher interest rates; less purchasing power for buyers; lower prices.