WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates came back down slightly this week after the key 30-year loan rate jumped nearly a quarter point last week.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year rate fell to 5.13% from 5.22% last week. Last year at this time, the rate stood at 2.86%.
The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, popular among those looking to refinance their homes, inched down to 4.55% from 4.59% last week. One year ago, it was 2.16%.
Rapidly rising interest rates — which add hundreds of dollars to monthly mortgage payments — have pushed many potential homebuyers to the sideline this year, cooling the once red-hot housing market.
The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that existing home sales fell for the sixth consecutive month in July , slowed by higher mortgage rates and home prices that are still steadily rising, though at a slower pace.
The national median home price jumped 10.8% in July from a year earlier to $403,800. A few months ago, the year-over-year price increase for an existing home was around 15%.
Sales of previously occupied homes fell 5.9% from June and are off more than 20% from a year ago.
The Federal Reserve has increased its main borrowing rate four times this year in an effort to curb four-decade high inflation. Mortgage rates don’t necessarily mirror the Fed’s rate increases. They tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which is influenced by a variety of factors, including investors’ expectations for future inflation and global demand for U.S. Treasurys.
Recently, faster inflation and strong U.S. economic growth have sent the 10-year Treasury rate up sharply.