Mortgage rates maintain a steady climb

WASHINGTON — Mortgage rates this year have had the most sustained increase to the start of a year in more than 40 years, with the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rising to 4.66 percent this week.

A year ago, 30-year rates averaged 3.95 percent.

Freddie Mac says through May, rates have risen in 15 out of the first 21 weeks of the year, or 71 percent, which is the highest share since Freddie Mac began tracking mortgage rate data in 1972.

“At a time when housing inventory remains extremely low, it is worth watching whether these higher borrowing costs lead some would-be sellers to stay put in their current home,” said Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater.

“Inventory shortages would likely worsen if more homeowners decide not to sell out of reluctance of having a new mortgage with a higher rate,” Khater said.

Thirty-year mortgage rates are now at their highest level in more than seven years.

A 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.15 percent this week. A year ago, 15-year fixed rates averaged 3.19 percent.

Rising rates come at the same time the price of homes continue to rise.

According to real estate firm Zillow, national home values have increased an average of 8.7 percent in the last year, the fastest pace of home value appreciation in 12 years.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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