Real Estate

The rate for the most common kind of mortgage just surged again.

The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage shot significantly higher Friday, rising 24 basis points to 4.95%, according to Mortgage News Daily. It is now 164 basis points higher than it was one year ago.

“That’s the second time this week, and it puts this week on par with the worst week from the 2013 taper tantrum — a record we didn’t see being legitimately challenged a few days ago,” said Matthew Graham, COO of Mortgage News Daily.

On Tuesday, the rate had hit 4.72%, a 26-basis-point jump from March 18. The quicker-than-expected rise in rates has weighed on demand for mortgages and refinancing loans.

The rate surged as the yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury also took off. Mortgage rates follow that yield loosely, but not entirely. Mortgage rates are also influenced by demand for mortgage-backed bonds. The Federal Reserve is scaling back its holdings of these assets and is also hiking interest rates.

It couldn’t come at a worse time, as the all-important spring housing market gets underway. Potential buyers are already facing extraordinarily tight supply and sky-high prices. With both rates and prices considerably higher, the median mortgage payment is now more than 20% higher than it was a year ago.

Buyers are also facing inflation on everything else in their budgets, which exacerbates the affordability issues. Rents are also surging higher at a record rate, causing more potential buyers to be unable to put aside money for a down payment. In addition, as rates rise, some buyers will no longer qualify for a mortgage. Lenders have been much more strict about how much debt a borrower may take on in relation to income.

Economists are already beginning to revise their sales figures lower for the year. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said Tuesday that he expects the rate to hover around 4.5% this year, after previously predicting it would stay at 4%.

NAR’s latest official prediction is for sales to drop 3% in 2022, but Yun now says he expects they will fall 6% to 8%. NAR has not officially updated its forecast.

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