By Nick Timiraos
Mortgage rates rose again last week to their highest level since July.
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.66% last week, up from 4.56% two weeks ago. That’s still below the year-to-date average of 4.74%, but it’s up from a low of 4.21% in October.
Rising rates are likely to further crimp refinance activity, which was down 1% for the week and down 8% from year-earlier levels.
But rising rates could encourage some fence-sitting buyers to close deals, and home-purchase mortgage applications jumped by nearly 2% last week, sending activity to its highest level since May.
Rates are closely tied to the 10-year Treasury, which has been on the rise over the past few weeks and jumped in recent days after the tax-cut compromise struck by the White House and congressional Republicans.