Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of interest rates rose for the first time in eight weeks, soaring 22 basis points for a 30-year fixed loan, the highest rates have been since August and the largest one-week increase since June 4, 2009 when the rate on a 30-year fixed rose 38 basis points.
“Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages were up to the highest level since early August and rates on shorter-maturity loans rose as well, although by somewhat lesser amounts. Retail sales. rose by nearly twice the consensus in October and represented the strongest gain since March. Moreover, consumer sentiment, as measured by the University of Michigan, ticked up in November to the highest level since June,” said Freddie’s chief economist Frank Nothaft.
Nothaft told National Mortgage News that the Fed’s policy of qualitative easement may be partly responsible for the hike.
“The Fed hasn’t done anything quite like this previously”-with the exception of its earlier QE purchases of government-related securitized mortgages and Treasury bonds, he said. “There’s just some nervousness about what the impacts are in the capital markets as well as concerns about inflation long term. Investors require additional premium on long-term bonds if they think inflation may be higher in the future.” The 10-year Treasury yield was 2.95 percent as of late Thursday morning. Less than a week ago it was below 2.7 percent.
Freddie Mac economists forecast rates on a 30-year fixed will rise gradually next year as the economy improves, reaching 4.8 percent in the fourth quarter. If that forecast holds true, the 4.17 percent rate reached a week ago may become the bottom for months to come.
The 30-year rate is still significantly lower than it was a year ago, when it stood at 4.83 percent. At that time, the 15-year rate was 4.32 percent, the five-year Treasury hybrid rate was 4.25 percent and the one-year Treasury ARM rate was 4.35 percent.