Mortgage Rates Hit Two-Decade High at 6.92%

New York, NY, October 14, 2022-"U.S. mortgage rates jumped to their highest level in more than two decades,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

“The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate hit 6.92% this week, according to a survey of lenders released Thursday by mortgage giant Freddie Mac. Many lenders are offering rates well over 7%. A year ago, the average rate was 3.05%.

“The most recent jump, from 6.66% a week ago, took the rate above the peak of the last financial crisis. The benchmark has climbed nearly two percentage points since August, adding to an already brisk rise since the Federal Reserve began lifting rates earlier this year. 

“The latest climb has been particularly painful for the housing market, putting homeownership out of reach for many would-be buyers because of the added monthly cost of paying a mortgage at a higher rate.

“A buyer that earns the median household income and puts 20% down could afford a home costing roughly $339,000 this week. That buyer could have afforded a home costing almost $449,000 in January, according to listings website, which is operated by Wall Street Journal parent company News Corp. The median existing home cost $389,500 in August.

“The higher rates have further cooled the housing and mortgage markets. The volume of mortgage rate locks is down 30% over the past three months and almost 60% from last year’s levels, according to Black Knight Inc., a mortgage technology and data provider. In particular, rate locks for people refinancing to pull cash out of their homes are down more than 26% between August and September.

“‘The phones are just not ringing,’ said Michael Menatian, president at Sanborn Mortgage Corp. ‘It’s really, really quiet.’

“Mortgage rates tend to rise and fall with the yield on the ten-year Treasury note, which was recently trading around 4%. The cost of borrowing has risen across the board since the central bank embarked on its aggressive campaign to curb inflation.

“‘We continue to see a tale of two economies in the data: strong job and wage growth are keeping consumers’ balance sheets positive, while lingering inflation, recession fears and housing affordability are driving housing demand down precipitously,’ Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said in a statement.”