The average 30-year mortgage rate plunged last week by the most in more than a year, helping generate the biggest advance in home purchase applications since early June.
The contract rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage slid 25 basis points to 7.61%, the lowest level since the end of September, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The group’s index of mortgage applications for home purchases increased 3% in the week ended Nov. 3, the data out Wednesday showed.
The second-straight weekly decline in mortgage rates is the first since mid-June and offers modest relief for a struggling housing market. Still, mortgage rates remain uncomfortably high and are discouraging many homeowners who have locked in rates at much lower levels from moving. That’s put pressure on supply and kept prices elevated.
“Looking ahead, we think that we’ve now seen the peak in mortgage rates and anticipate a steady decline over the next two years,” Thomas Ryan, property economist at Capital Economics, said in a note. “Even so, we don’t expect them to fall below 6.0% before end-2025, far higher than the 4.1% average of the 2010s decade. That will keep affordability stretched and dampen any potential of a major recovery in housing activity.”
The Federal Reserve’s decision last week to hold interest rates steady for a second straight meeting is offering some hope for the housing sector. While policymakers reaffirmed they will keep borrowing costs elevated in the near term, real estate stocks rallied last week on speculation the central bank could be nearing the end of its tightening cycle.
That outlook has helped bring the 10-year Treasury yield down from the peaks reached in October. Mortgage rates tend to move in tandem with government yields.
The MBA’s overall index of applications, which includes purchasing and refinancing, rose 2.5% last week from the lowest level since 1995. Refinancing activity also edged up.
The MBA survey, which has been conducted weekly since 1990, uses responses from mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts. The data cover more than 75% of all retail residential mortgage applications in the US.