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Freddie Mac: Mortgage Rates Slide Back 

David Krechevsky
Jan 12, 2023

After rising the previous week, the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 6.33%.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.33% as of Jan. 12.
  • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.52%.

Mortgage rates fell in the past week after rising a week earlier, according to the latest report from Freddie Mac.

Freddie Mac on Thursday released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), showing the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 6.33%, down 0.15 percentage points from last week.

“While mortgage rates have resumed their decline, the market remains hypersensitive to rate movements, with purchase demand experiencing large swings relative to small changes in rates,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Over the last few weeks latent demand has been on display with buyers jumping in and out of the market as rates move.”

  • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.33% as of Jan. 12, down from 6.48% last week. A year ago at this time, it averaged 3.45%.
  • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.52%, down from 5.73% last week. A year ago at this time, it averaged 2.62%.

The PMMS is focused on conventional, conforming, fully amortizing home purchase loans for borrowers who put 20% down and have excellent credit.

George Ratiu, manager of economic research for Realtor.com, said the the 30-year FRM has been moving up  and down in the 6% to 7% range since September 2022, when it topped 6% for the first time in 14 years.

“Mortgage rates have mirrored the volatility in the 10-year Treasury, as investors wrangle mixed expectations amid an inflow of new economic numbers,” he said.

“Businesses and investors are closely monitoring the Federal Reserve’s monetary tightening, keeping an eye out for signs that the bank may ease the pace of rate hikes,” Ratiu said. “This week’s Consumer Price Index numbers will be a key indicator of whether the central bank’s actions are sustaining the moderation in price gains we have seen over the past five months.”

The CPI report, released Thursday, showed annual inflation at 6.5% in December, down from 7.1% in November and the sixth consecutive decline. The report also showed core inflation — which excludes the volatile energy and food categories — was 5.7% year over year. Both measures matched analysts’ expectations.

“Expectations of an economic slowdown are also weighing on small businesses, with the NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business)  index sliding to the lowest mark since June, on worries of lower sales,” Ratiu said. “At the same time, consumers continue to purchase goods and services, even if they need to resort to borrowing money. The latest data on consumer credit show a 7.1% yearly increase, on the strength of credit card borrowing. Rising prices and lower savings are pushing many consumers to borrow more for everyday needs.”

Counterbalancing those trends, he said, “the labor market remains resilient, with a shortage of workers still a principal concern for many companies. Many employees are finding they retain leverage, especially when changing jobs, and earning noticeable pay increases.”

He added that, “with capital market volatility expected to continue, mortgage rates will maintain a seesaw trajectory over the short term, likely staying within the 6% to 7% range we have seen over the past five months. For buyers who find a home to purchase, shopping for a mortgage with multiple lenders to secure the lowest rate and fees could result not only in a lower monthly payment, but also in tens of thousands of dollars saved over the life of the loan.”

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