Mortgage Rates Rise Ahead of Fed’s Big Announcement

The Federal Reserve is expected to raise its key benchmark rate this coming week. What impact could it have on mortgage rates?
Model houses on top of boxes with percentage signs depicting mortgage rates

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Mortgage rates rose slightly this week ahead of the Federal Reserve’s highly anticipated meeting next Tuesday, when it is expected to increase its benchmark rate by up to a full percentage point. What impact could that have on mortgage rates ahead?

“Even though the upcoming rate hike will be more aggressive, it’s expected to have a smaller impact on mortgage rates,” Nadia Evangelou, senior economist and director of forecasting for the National Association of REALTORS®, writes at the association’s blog. “Data shows that mortgage rates have already priced in some of the effects of the upcoming Fed’s rate hikes.”

That would be welcome news to home buyers who are getting nervous about rapidly increasing borrowing costs. Rising mortgage rates are tamping down housing demand, as existing-home sales in June were down 14.2% from a year earlier, according to NAR data. The Census Bureau also reports that builders have slowed new-home construction as more buyers get priced out.

“The housing market remains sluggish as mortgage rates inch up for the second consecutive week,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Consumer concerns about rising rates, inflation and a potential recession are manifesting in softening demand.”

Home affordability is worsening, with the costs of buying a home now about 80% more expensive than in June 2019 before the pandemic, Evangelou says. Nearly 25% of buyers who purchased their home in 2019 couldn’t buy at today’s higher prices and mortgage rates, she adds. The median price for an existing home climbed to a record high in June, reaching $416,000—up 13.4% compared to a year earlier, according to NAR data.

Freddie Mac reports the following national rates for the week ending July 21:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 5.54%, with an average 0.8 point, increasing from last week’s 5.51% average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 2.78%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.75%, with an average 0.8 point, increasing from last week’s 4.67% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.12%.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 4.31%, with an average 0.3 point, dropping from last week’s 4.35% average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.49%.
Freddie Mac reports commitment rates along with average points to better reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage.