(Bloomberg) -- US mortgage rates jumped to a 16-year high of 6.75%, marking the seventh-straight weekly increase and spurring the worst slump in home loan applications since the depths of the pandemic.

The contract rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage rose nearly a quarter percentage point in the last week of September, according to Mortgage Bankers Association data released Wednesday. The steady string of increases in mortgage rates resulted in a more than 14% slump last week in applications to purchase or refinance a home.

Over the past seven weeks, mortgage rates have soared 1.30 percentage points, the largest surge over a comparable period since 2003 and illustrating the abrupt upswing in borrowing costs as the Federal Reserve intensifies its inflation fight. 

The effective 30-year fixed rate, which includes the effects of compounding, topped 7% in the period ended Sept. 30, also the highest since 2006.

MBA’s index of applications to purchase a home plummeted 12.6% to 174.1, the lowest level since 2015, while the gauge of refinancing dropped 17.8% to a 22-year low.

Prospective homebuyers may soon experience some respite in the rapid upturn in borrowing costs given the US 10-year Treasury yield has eased so far this week.

Other measures of mortgage rates also put the cost of borrowing around 6.7%. Last week, Freddie Mac’s data, which is released on Thursdays, showed that the average for a 30-year loan climbed to 6.7%, the highest since 2007, in the week ended Sept. 29. Mortgage News Daily, which updates more frequently, puts the 30-year rate at 6.65% on Tuesday.

The MBA survey, which has been conducted weekly since 1990, uses responses from mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts. The data covers more than 75% of all retail residential mortgage applications in the US. 

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