Mortgage rates in the U.S. continued their steep ascent, reaching a level not seen since December 2018.

The average for a 30-year loan was 4.67%, up from 4.42% last week, Freddie Mac said in a statement Thursday.

Rates are up more than a percentage point in the past two months, a dizzying rise that has surprised many industry experts. Higher borrowing costs have stretched the budgets of prospective homebuyers and, along with soaring prices, shut some out of the market altogether.

The Federal Reserve’s hawkish stance on inflation, and volatility in oil markets brought on by Russia’s war in Ukraine, are the main drivers of the swift rise in rates, said David Battany, executive vice president of capital markets for Guild Mortgage. Given the ongoing pressures, the rapid pace of increases could continue for the next few weeks or months.

“We could literally be approaching 5% within a few weeks, we’re that close,” Battany said.

Freddie Mac’s 30-year average hasn’t reached 5% since February 2011. It hit a record low of 2.65% in January 2021, a slide that fueled fierce demand for purchases.

Borrowers with a $300,000 mortgage would pay $1,551 at the current 30-year average. That’s up $250 from the start of the year.

It’s a particularly tough time for entry-level buyers, who had already been struggling to find homes they could afford across much of the country.

“Interest rates and home prices are appreciating faster than their income is appreciating,” Battany said. “So their ability to save up for the down payment, or just to be able to afford the monthly payment, becomes more of a challenge.”

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.