Editor’s Note: The Mortgage Mix is RISMedia’s weekly highlight reel of need-to-know mortgage-industry happenings. Watch for it each Friday afternoon.
- The Federal Reserve recently announced that it would raise interest rates by a quarter percent, pushing the federal funds rate between 4.75% and 5%. This is the ninth consecutive increase from the Fed since starting its campaign to lessen inflation in March 2022. In the statement, officials hinted that they might be ending their rate hikes sooner rather than later.
- In the aftermath of the recent bank debacle in which both Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank collapsed, mortgage rates saw their second weekly drop, according to the latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey from Freddie Mac. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.42% this week, and the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.68%. Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, commented that “If mortgage rates continue to slide over the next few weeks, look for a continued rebound during the first weeks of the spring home-buying season.”
- The drop in mortgage rates fostered a 3% increase in mortgage applications in the latest Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). This marks the third straight week of increases. Joel Kan, MBA’s vice president and deputy chief economist, said that “Both purchase and refinance applications increased for the third week in a row as borrowers took the opportunity to act, even though overall application volume remains at relatively low levels.”
- MBA’s latest Purchase Applications Payment Index saw homebuyer affordability worsening, with the national median payment applied for by purchase applicants increasing 4.9% from $1,964 in January to $2,061 in February. “Higher mortgage rates and home prices led to continued erosion in homebuyer affordability in February,” said Edward Seiler, MBA’s associate vice president. “Given ongoing economic uncertainty and the likelihood of a recession, MBA expects mortgage rates to decline as this year progresses, which will help affordability.”
- Black Knight Inc. and Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (ICE) have responded to the Federal Trade Commission’s statement earlier this month that it plans to block their merger, according to National Mortgage Professional. The two organizations stated that the deal will help, not harm consumers. In contrast, Patty Brink, acting deputy director of the Bureau of Competition, said that “This deal would reduce competition in key areas of the mortgage process, ultimately raising costs for lenders and homebuyers.”