Mortgage rates rise as U.S.-China trade talks remain fluid

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Economic uncertainty continued to affect mortgage rates, which rose to their highest level in 12 weeks, according to Freddie Mac.

30-Year FRM 15-Year FRM 5/1-Year ARM
Average Rates 3.75% 3.18% 3.40%
Fees & Points 0.5 0.5 0.3
Margin N/A N/A 2.75

"The outlook for a favorable resolution to the trade dispute between the U.S. and China is still unclear, introducing some volatility into financial markets and the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield," Sam Khater, Freddie Mac's chief economist, said in a press release. "Mortgage rates are following suit at near historic lows, while mortgage applications to purchase a home remain higher year-over-year."

The 10-year Treasury yield was at 1.74% at closing on Oct. 23, which is 31 basis points higher than its recent low point of 1.43% on Sept. 3. Since that day, there has been wide swings in the yield, going as high as 1.9% before falling as low as 1.51%.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.75% for the week ending Oct. 24, up from last week when it averaged 3.69%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.86%.

The possible resolution of the United Kingdom's protracted withdrawal from the European Union was the biggest influence on rates this week, said Zillow economist Matthew Speakman when that company released its own rate tracker.

"After the trade war and economic data reports hogged the spotlight in recent months, Brexit talks have taken back center stage as the U.K. government has, to the surprise of many, managed to achieve meaningful progress in the talks. After weeks of uncertainty, the prospects of a 'no deal' Brexit — which many believe would have severely detrimental impacts on the global economy — have gotten slimmer in recent weeks," he said. "This positive news has helped offset the disappointment from a stall in U.S.-China trade talks after news of a preliminary deal earlier this month."

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.18%, up from last week when it averaged 3.15%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.29%.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.4% with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.15%. A year ago at this time, the five-year adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 4.14%.

World trade news will play less of a role for mortgage rate movements in the coming week, Speakman said.

"Looking ahead, the market's attention is likely to shift back to macroeconomic developments in the coming week, particularly two crucial readings on consumer sentiment, third-quarter gross domestic product and, most importantly, next Wednesday's October Fed meeting," he said.

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Mortgage rates forecast Mortgage rates Purchase Mortgage applications Economy Brexit Freddie Mac Zillow Federal Reserve China