Mortgage Rates Surge, But Homebuyers Advised To Be Patient

By MARCY GORDON and JOSH BOAK

WASHINGTON (AP) — With mortgage rates surging following the election win of Donald Trump, homebuyers may feel compelled to snap up loans before rates rocket even higher. But housing experts say consumers shouldn't get carried away by the post-election wave.

The advance of the past week or so, stoked by a surprise victory that turned economic expectations on their head, could soon settle.

"Consumers considering buying or refinancing now should stay patient, as we'll likely see rates stabilize once markets find a new equilibrium," says Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow.

In the week ended Thursday, the average rate on the 30-year fixed-rate loan jumped to 3.94 percent from 3.57 percent the previous week, mortgage company Freddie Mac reported. That put the benchmark rate close to its year-ago level of 3.97 percent.

The average for a 15-year mortgage, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, climbed to 3.14 percent from 2.88 percent.

The rate rise was powered by a sustained decline in U.S. government bond prices in the days after Trump's victory became known early last Wednesday. Bond investors looked toward tax cuts and beefed-up spending to upgrade roads, bridges and airports under a Trump administration, which could fuel inflation. That would depress prices of long-term Treasury bonds because inflation would erode their value over time. The selling wave dubbed the "Trump Dump" lifted bond yields, which move opposite to prices and influence long-term mortgage rates.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond zoomed to 2.06 percent last Wednesday from 1.87 percent on Election Day Tuesday. By this Thursday morning, it was at 2.25 percent Thursday.

Adding to the expectations of higher interest rates, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen sketched a picture Thursday of an improving U.S. economy and said the case for an increase in rates has strengthened. The Fed is widely expected to raise rates when it meets in mid-December.

If you liked this article you might like

What's Behind the Surge in Energy Stocks

Hillary Clinton Says Prosecuting Individuals is Key to Wall Street Reform