Mortgage rates tick up, but barely

This article first appeared at MarketWatch:

Rates for home loans continued to tread water as uncertainty about the economy and Washington policy kept rates markets in a tight range, mortgage provider Freddie Mac said Thursday.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.16% during the Feb. 23 week, up one basis point during the week. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.37%, up from 3.35%.

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.16%, down two basis points.

Those rates don’t include fees associated with obtaining mortgage loans.

Mortgage rates aren’t tracking the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond yield TMUBMUSD10Y, -2.35% as has long been the case. Since the beginning of the year, mortgage rates have fallen 16 basis points, while the 10-year is down eight.

“This week’s survey again displays the disconnect between mortgage rates and Treasury yields, a result of continued uncertainty,” noted Freddie’s chief economist, Sean Becketti, in a release.

Many economists had believed mortgage rates would follow Treasury yields higher this year, and there’s been some concern about the impact of higher rates on an already pricey housing market. So far, that hasn’t been the case – and sales of existing homes were robust in January, a period of time that reflected the highest mortgage commitments of the past year.