Mortgage applications hit 4-year low as interest rates rise

US mortgage rates jump to highest level in nearly 8 years

The average rate on a 15-year, fixed-rate loan increased to 4.33 percent, from 4.23 percent last week.

According to the MBA, last week's average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose from 5.11% to 5.15%.

In the housing market, meanwhile, the slow and steady upward march of mortgage rates is taking a toll. A year ago, the rate averaged 3.9 percent. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has been raising the benchmark borrowing rate to curb inflation and prevent an expanding economy from overheating. Strong business activity and employment growth drove a surge. It was the eighth hike since policymakers started to normalize monetary policy in late 2015.

Added Khater, "Higher mortgage rates have led to a slowdown in national home price growth, but the price deceleration has been primarily concentrated in affluent coastal markets such as California and the state of Washington".

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.94% in the Nov.8 week, a gain of 11 basis points, mortgage finance provider Freddie Mac said Thursday.

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Higher rates have kept many would-be home purchasers on the sidelines.

Sales of existing homes haven't fared any better, falling for six straight months. A year ago the 10-year note yielded 2.32%.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week. For example, mortgage applications fell to a four-year low last week. The fee on 15-year mortgages ticked up by one-tenth to 0.5 points.

The average rate for five-year adjustable-rate mortgages rose to 4.14 per cent from 4.04 per cent last week.

Among the federal programs, the FHA share of total applications decreased to 10.1 percent from 10.3 percent while the VA share of total applications increased to 10.1 percent from 9.8 percent and the USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.7 percent.

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