Freddie Mac: Inflation Fears Pushing Rates Up
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - What a difference 10 months can make when it comes to mortgage interest rates. Mortgage experts have predicted for awhile that rates would rise, but now it seems their forecasts might actually be happening. When 2005 began, mortgage rates started out lower than 2004 ended. In Freddie Mac's first Primary Mortgage Market SurveyT in 2005 for the week ending Jan. 6, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.77%, and the average for the 15-year FRM was 5.21. Six months later, for the week ending June 2, mortgage rates remained low - the 30-year FRM averaged 5.62% and the 15-year averaged 5.20. Rates started to climb in September, and Freddie Mac VP and Chief Economist Frank Nothaft offered the climb reflected "market anxieties over inflationary pressures, energy price increases, and slipping consumer confidence. Taken together, these developments suggest less personal spending during the last quarter of the year and additional upward pressure on mortgage rates." In fact, by the week ending Oct. 20, rates on the 30-year FRM rose to their highest point in 15 months - 6.10; rates on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.65%. Slowly but steadily rising interest rates are already affecting home sales. While sales were still "impressive" in September, Nothaft observed that mortgage applications in October seemed to "taper off a bit." "Obviously, refinancing is going to take the biggest hit as mortgage rates tick up," he stated. "Refinancing comprised about 40% or more of the total volume of mortgage originations over the last 13 months. This share, however, will lessen as mortgage rates continue to rise."