As financial conditions tighten and weigh down the housing sector, the average interest rate on the most common home loan has hit the highest level seen since 2001, according to new data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), released Wednesday.

For the week ending October 21st, a 30-year average fixed rate mortgage saw the average contract rate rise by .22% to 7.16%, as a measure of mortgage loan application volume, the MBA’s Market Composite Index, dropped 1.7% from a week before. That points to mortgage applications dropping to the slowest pace since 1997.

Since the beginning of the year, the Federal Reserve’s aggressive policy of interest rate hikes designed to reduce inflation, has driven mortgage rates to more than double. And the Fed’s policy position shows no signs of abating. It is expected the next Fed meeting on November 1-2 will end with a fourth straight 75 basis point interest rate hike.

Primarily designed to cool the economy and reduce demand, as a way of reducing price inflation, the housing sector has been hit hard by the Fed’s interest rate increases, which have also caused Treasury yields to surge and increased the costs of mortgages, pricing many potential buyers into the rental market.

The 10-year Treasury note’s yield is viewed as a benchmark for US mortgage rates.

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