Average long-term US mortgage rates tumble to six.61%


WASHINGTON (AP) — The common long-term U.S. mortgage rate tumbled by nearly a half-point this week, but will likely remain a major barrier for potential homebuyers as Federal Reserve officials have all but promised more rate hikes in the approaching months.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the typical on the important thing 30-year rate fell to six.61% from 7.08% last week. A yr ago the typical rate was 3.1%.

The speed for a 15-year mortgage, popular with those refinancing their homes, fell to five.98% from 6.38% last week. It was 2.39% one yr ago.

Late last month, the typical long-term U.S. mortgage rate breached 7% for the primary time since 2002.

Two weeks ago, the Fed raised its short-term lending rate by one other 0.75 percentage points, thrice its usual margin, for a fourth time this yr as a part of its inflation-fighting strategy. Its key rate now stands in a spread of three.75% to 4%.

There had been some hope that the Fed would begin to dial the speed increases down as more evidence is available in that prices could have peaked. Nevertheless, recent comments by Fed officials have turned knocked down that optimism.

James Bullard, who leads the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, said Thursday that the Fed could have to lift its benchmark rate of interest much higher than it has previously projected to get inflation under control.

The Fed’s next two-day rate policy meeting wraps up on Dec. 14.

The Labor Department reported last week that consumer inflation reached 7.7% in October from a yr earlier, the smallest year-over-year rise since January. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, “core” inflation rose 6.3% up to now 12 months. On Wednesday, Labor reported that prices on the wholesale level fell for the fourth straight month.

Those figures were all lower than economists had expected, but it surely stays to be seen whether it’s enough to get the Fed to ease off the jumbo rate hikes.

Three weeks ago, the typical long-term U.S. mortgage rate topped 7% for the primary time in greater than 20 years, which combined with sky-high home prices, have crushed homebuyers’ purchasing power by adding a whole lot of dollars to monthly mortgage payments.

Sales of existing homes have declined for eight straight months as borrowing costs have grow to be too big of an obstacle for a lot of Americans already paying more for food, gas and other necessities. On top of that, homeowners searching for to upgrade or change locations have held off listing their homes because they don’t wish to jump into a better rate on their next mortgage.

The sagging housing market has prompted real estate corporations to dial back their financial outlooks and shrink their workforces. Online real estate broker Redfin is letting go of 862 employees and shutting down its instant-cash-offer subsidiary RedfinNow.

Redfin also laid off 470 employees in June, blaming slowing home sales. Through attrition and layoffs, Redfin has slashed greater than 1 / 4 of its workforce on the idea that the housing downturn will last “not less than through 2023,” it said in a regulatory filing.

One other online real estate broker, Compass, has laid off a whole lot of staff this yr.

While mortgage rates don’t necessarily mirror the Fed’s rate increases, they have an inclination to trace the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. The yield is influenced by quite a lot of aspects, including investors’ expectations for future inflation and global demand for U.S. Treasurys.

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