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Economic Report: Mortgage rates tick up as the spring selling season hangs in the balance

Rates for home loans rose modestly as economic data continued to surprise to the upside, but remained low enough to keep homeownership more affordable than last year. Read More...

A real estate agent walks outside a townhouse for sale in Arcadia, California.

Rates for home loans edged up after reports showed the economy was shrugging off its winter sluggishness.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.12% during the April 11 week, mortgage guarantor Freddie Mac reported Thursday. That was up from 4.08%, and marked the first time in seven months that the popular product had managed two weekly gains in a row.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.60%, up four basis points. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.80%, up from 3.66%.

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

Read: Forget everything you’ve heard about first-time homebuyers. They’re doing all right.

Fixed-rate mortgages follow the trajectory of the 10-year U.S. Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, +2.80%  . Bond yields are stabilizing as economic data improves and investors pivot back to less-safe assets, like stocks.

See also: Jobless claims sink below 200,000 for first time since 1969

There are clear signals that Americans have become increasingly sensitive to rates: applications for mortgages fell 5% in the past week, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday, continuing a pattern of rates and applications moving in lockstep. Still, even with the recent move up, the 30-year-fixed is nearly half a percentage point lower than its full-year average in 2018.

And mortgage rates aren’t the only thing holding back the housing market. The spring selling season is in full bloom across most of the country, and the coming weeks will be critical.

Success will hinge on whether Americans have shaken off the concerns that dogged them last year, such as their household tax situations and the fear of buying right before a market top, and the availability of homes in the lower price segments.

Read: Facebook sets its sights on housing. Should Zillow be worried?

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