US mortgage rates hit 2017 high

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US mortgage rates have hit the highest level of 2017, a trade association said on Wednesday, highlighting the rising hurdles to home affordability.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage with conforming loan balances ticked up to 4.39 per cent in the week to January 27, from 4.35 per cent in the previous week, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Rates have ratcheted higher since the US election as the spectre of more robust inflation sparked a deep sell-off in the bond markets that pushed yields and borrowing costs up.

While rates remain low by historic standards, the upward pressure represents another headwind for potential homebuyers, who are already facing rising prices and tight inventories for previously-owned housing.

The affordability issues, however, are offset to some extent by a strong labour market and stocks that have recently climbed to all-time highs.

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