(Bloomberg) -- Mortgage rates in the US climbed past 7% for the first time this year.

The average for a 30-year, fixed loan was 7.1%, up from 6.88% last week, Freddie Mac said in a statement Thursday.

Buyers are confronting a tough market with tight inventory. Rising borrowing costs and high prices have pushed the median monthly housing payment in the US to a record, according to Redfin Corp. That’s weighed on home sales, with transactions for previously owned properties dropping 4.3% in March from February, National Association of Realtors data showed.

“As rates trend higher, potential homebuyers are deciding whether to buy before rates rise even more or hold off in hopes of decreases later in the year,” Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said in the statement.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signaled earlier this week that the central bank will likely wait longer to cut interest rates. Recent reports on jobs and inflation have suggested the economy is strong right now, and unemployment claims remain subdued.

“We will continue to live in a prolonged period of high rates and face expensive borrowing costs, including high mortgage rates,” said Jiayi Xu, a Realtor.com economist.

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