Mortgage rates stayed low for the final week of 2021, but housing analysts largely predict rates will be heading up in the coming weeks.
“Mortgage rates have been effectively been moving sideways despite the increase in new COVID cases,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “This is because incoming economic data suggests that the economy remains on firm ground, particularly cyclical industries like manufacturing and housing. Moreover, low interest rates and high asset valuations continue to drive consumer spending. While we do expect rates to rise, the push the first-time home buyer demographic that’s been propelling the purchase market will continue in 2022 and beyond.”
Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Dec. 30:
30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.11%, with an average 0.7 point, rising from last week’s 3.05% average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 2.67%.
15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.33%, with an average 0.7 point, up from last week’s 2.30% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.17%.
5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.41%, with an average 0.5 point, increasing from last week’s 2.37% average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.71%.
Freddie Mac reports national commitment rates along with average points to better reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced Tuesday that conforming loan limits for mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will jump in most of the country to $647,200, an increase of $98,950 from 2021’s limit of $548,250. The higher levels are in response to rising home prices over the past year.
The FHFA’s House Price Index shows that home prices rose 18.05%, on average, between the third quarters of 2020 and 2021. The 2022 conforming loan limits are increasing by the same percentage, the FHFA reports.
However, in areas where the local median home value exceeds the baseline conforming loan limit, the limits will be much higher, the FHFA says. In higher-priced locations such as San Francisco and New York, the conforming loan limits for 2022 will increase to $970,800. In 2021, that baseline was $822,375.