NEW YORK (AP) — Homebuilders took a hit Friday with mortgages likely growing more expensive on the heels of spiking Treasury yields.

The yield on 10-year Treasury notes jumped to 2.70 percent from 2.56 percent with the government releasing a stronger-than-expected jobs report for June.

When Treasury yields rise, interest rates tend to follow suit. Because Treasuries are such a safe bet, interest rates on loans typically rise because they must remain competitive enough to rival Treasury yields.

A number of homebuilders have seen shares hit multiyear highs recently as a combination of an improving jobs picture and incredibly low interest rates led to a resurgence of buying.

But they've come off of those highs as Treasury yields have headed higher.

Raymond James analyst Buck Horne earlier this week pointed out that the Mortgage Bankers Association purchase application index slide 3.1 percent.

Horne cited a lack of homes for sale as builders ramp up operations again, but he also noted rising mortgage rates.

"The recent rise in mortgage rates has only complicated the issue, and may be showing signs of slowing sales activity further," Horne wrote Wednesday.

That has not affected demand for homes, and Horne pointed out that mortgage rates, which have risen for eight straight weeks, are still comparatively low.

In afternoon trading Beazer Homes USA Inc. stock shed 67 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $16.73 and shares of Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. gave up 20 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $5.32. Lennar Corp. shares sank $1.87, or 5.3 percent, to $33.48 and shares of Toll Brothers Inc. declined $1.25, or 3.9 percent, to $31.24. PulteGroup Inc. shares fell 79 cents, or 4.1 percent, to $18.36 while KB Home shares lost 72 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $17.99 and D.R. Horton Inc. stock gave up 94 cents, or 4.5 percent, to $20.02.

In May shares of Toll Brothers reached their highest prices in seven years, while Pulte, Lennar and D.R. Horton traded at their highest prices in about six years. KB Home stock touched its highest prices since September 2008.

Sales of new homes rose in May to the fastest pace in five years. Sales of previously owned homes rose to an annual rate of 5.18 million in May.

The last time sales had exceeded 5 million was in November 2009, a month when the pending expiration of a home-buying tax credit briefly inflated sales.

 

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