The Federal Reserve raised interest rates today – a much-anticipated move that comes as both U.S. and global economic fundamentals continue to strengthen. The Fed’s decision to raise interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point puts the federal funds rate at its highest level since 2008. The decision, while widely expected, sent the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury soaring. Following Treasurys, mortgage rates shrugged off last week’s drop and continued their upward march. The U.S. weekly average 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose 1 basis point to 4.45 percent in this week’s survey.
So far, U.S. housing markets remain resilient in the face of higher mortgage rates. The National Association of Realtors reported this week that existing home sales in February increased 3 percent month-over-month on a seasonally adjusted basis and are up 1.1 percent from a year ago. That momentum is carrying through into spring. In the latest Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, the home purchase mortgage applications index was up six percent from the same week a year ago.