Image source: Getty Images.

The main fixed-rate mortgage rates were unchanged on Friday. The average 30-year mortgage rate was 4.17%, which equates to a $487.27 monthly payment per $100,000 borrowed. A month ago, the equivalent payment would have been lower by $12.73.

The average 15-year mortgage was 3.32%, equating to a $706.08 monthly payment per $100,000 borrowed. A month ago, the equivalent payment would have been lower by $10.68.

As noted in yesterday's column, both of these rates are at their highest levels since early 2014.

Rate (National Average)


1 Month Ago

30-year fixed jumbo



30-year fixed



15-year fixed



30-year fixed refi



15-year fixed refi



5/1 ARM



5/1 ARM refi



Data source: Bloomberg. Rates may include points. 5/1 ARM: Adjustable-rate mortgage with an initial fixed five-year interest rate.

November home purchase data proves housing demand is alive and well, even as mortgage rates rise

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development released new residential home sales data for the month of November on Friday. The numbers are encouraging, with sales of new single-family houses at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 592,000, according to estimates released jointly today. That's a 5.2% increase over the revised October rate of 563,000 and 16.5% above the November 2015 estimate of 508,000.

As the following graph illustrates, with the exception of July (622,000), November produced the highest rate of home purchases in the current cycle (purchases bottomed in February 2011) and the highest rate since February 2008 -- nearly nine years ago:

The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of November was 250,000, which represents a supply of 5.1 months at the current sales rate. Note that this metric has been stable within a range of four to six months' supply over the past five years (the graph overstates the volatility because the y-axis starts at four instead of zero):

Rising home purchases in a market with a stable supply of properties suggests the housing market is healthy and further improvements are possible.