WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. long-term mortgage rates climbed this week in a whip-sawing market amid deepening anxiety over devastation to the economy from the coronavirus pandemic.
Home loan rates had hit all-time lows two weeks ago. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the benchmark 30-year loan jumped to 3.65% this week from 3.36% last week.
Freddie Mac said the short-term rise was due to mortgage lenders increasing prices to deal with booming demand for refinancing into loans at historically low rates.
The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.06% from 2.77%.
The recent decline trend in mortgage rates has been driven by investors shifting money out of the stock market and into the safety of U.S. Treasurys as the crisis in confidence around the global viral outbreak has worsened. Long-term mortgage rates tend to track the yields on the 10-year Treasury note, so they typically fall in tandem.
Financial markets have shuddered amid a cascade of cancellations and shutdowns across the globe due to the COVID-19 virus. Wide swaths of the U.S. economy have ground closer to a standstill as authorities ask Americans to stay home to slow the spread of the virus.
After weeks of stunning losses, U.S. stock prices see-sawed between gains and losses on Wall Street Thursday. Investors are weighing the growing likelihood of a recession against the massive, emergency efforts by the Trump White House, Congress and other authorities around the world to shore up economies.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up about 300 points, around midday, while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 index was up around 30 points, or more than 1%.