"Mortgage rates this week jumped to their highest level since 2011, signaling a shift from a period of ultracheap loans to a higher-rate environment that could slow home price appreciation and squeeze first-time buyers," The Wall Street Journal's Laura Kusisto and Christina Rexrode write (subscription):

Be smart: "A one percentage point increase in [mortgage] rates can lead to a reduction in home sales of 7% to 8%."

  • What happened: "The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.61% this week from 4.55% last week."
  • How it happened: "The spike this year has been faster than many economists predicted as a surging economy, the prospect of wage gains and a steep rise in prices for commodities such as lumber and gasoline stoke inflation worries."
  • Why it matters: "The jump this year reflects an abrupt departure from a long period of declining rates that began during the financial crisis. Rates bottomed out in late 2012 at 3.31%."
  • The fallout: "The concern among economists is that higher rates will prompt homeowners to keep their low-rate mortgages rather than trade up for better properties. As rates approach 5%, the risk of the phenomenon known as rate lock grows."

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 p.m. ET: 31,201,975 — Total deaths: 963,068— Total recoveries: 21,356,412Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 p.m. ET: 6,833,931 — Total deaths: 199,815 — Total recoveries: 2,615,949 — Total tests: 95,841,281Map.
  3. Health: CDC says it mistakenly published guidance about COVID-19 spreading through air.
  4. Media: Conservative blogger who spread COVID-19 misinformation worked for Fauci's agency.
  5. Politics: House Democrats file legislation to fund government through Dec. 11.
  6. World: U.K. upgrades COVID alert level as Europe sees worrying rise in infections — "The Wake-Up Call" warns the West about the consequences of mishandling a pandemic.

Louisville police declare state of emergency as Breonna Taylor decision looms

A demonstrator holds up a sign of Breonna Taylor during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

The Louisville police chief declared in a memo obtained by news outlets a "state of emergency" for the department on Monday to prepare for Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's expected announcement on the Breonna Taylor case.

Of note: Louisville has witnessed more than 115 days of protests over the police killing of Taylor, an unarmed Black woman, with calls for all the officers involved to be charged.

Sen. Cory Gardner on vacant Supreme Court seat: "I will vote to confirm"

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) will vote to confirm President Trump's nominee to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, he announced in a statement Monday.

Why it matters: The development is a win for President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). It should mean Republicans are all but assured to have enough support to hold hearings for Trump's potential nominee.

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