‘Extra Time to Find the Right Home’ for Buyers

Mixed economic data this week prompted mortgage rates to remain in mostly a holding pattern, says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Manufacturing output and consumer spending showed improvements, but construction activity was a disappointment,” Khater says. “This meant there was no driving force to move mortgage rates in any meaningful way, which has been the theme in the last two months. That’s good news for price-sensitive home shoppers, given that this stability in borrowing costs allows them a little extra time to find the right home.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending July 19:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.52 percent this week, with an average 0.5 point, dropping slightly from last week’s 4.53 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.96 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4 percent this week, with an average 0.4 point, falling from last week’s 4.02 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.23 percent.
Source: Freddie Mac

First Half Review: Housing Is Doing Well!

The first half of 2016 has proven to be a boom to real estate, writes Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist in his monthly column. Total home sales are up 5 percent compared to the first half of 2015 and median existing home prices are up 5 percent as of June, setting a new record. Also, a rise in equity for home owners may encourage them to consider selling.

Yet, Smoke doesn’t expect the strong market to stay this strong in the second half of the year.

“All ages have been tempted by near-record lows in mortgage rates prompted by global economic weakness and instability driving investors toward U.S. bonds,” Smoke writes in his latest column. “But even with all that demand, the market can grow only so much, because of the limited inventory of homes for sale.

“As long as [mortgage] rates do not increase substantially in a short period of time, the real estate market should remain strong,” Smoke says. “The underlying reason for higher rates is a stronger economy; so the benefits of that will offset the impact of marginally higher rates. A stronger economy, more jobs, lower unemployment, and higher wages will power demand. Higher rates will also likely help loosen credit. Those positive conditions coupled with demographic tailwinds from millennials and boomers will keep the U.S. housing market healthy and strong for at least two more years.”

Source: “Housing Had a Great First Half of 2016, But Will It Last?” realtor.com® (July 28, 2016)

Sluggish Economy Pushes Mortgage Rates Lower

The average for fixed-rate mortgages fell this week on signs of a softening economy, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market report.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, attributes the lower rates to a sluggish economy that added 74,000 jobs in December, which was less than the market consensus forecast. The unemployment rate remains high at 6.7 percent — but still it’s at its lowest level since October 2008, he notes.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending Jan. 16:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.41 percent, with an average 0.7 point, dropping from last week’s 4.51 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.38 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.45 percent, with an average 0.7 point, dropping from last week’s 3.56 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.66 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.10 percent, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 3.15 percent average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.67 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Mortgage Rates “Move Higher Again” this week!

Fixed-rate mortgages are on their way up this week for the second consecutive week, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage reaching its highest level since Sept. 19 when it averaged 4.50 percent, Freddie Mac reports.

“Fixed mortgage rates increased this week following stronger than expected economic data releases,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. Nothaft notes the employment report for October was stronger than expected with revisions adding 60,000 additional jobs to the prior two month of releases.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending Nov. 14:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.35 percent, with an average 0.7 point, rising from last week’s 4.16 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.34 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.35 percent, with an average 0.7 point, rising from last week’s 3.27 percent average. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 2.65 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.01 percent, with an average 0.4 point, rising from last week’s 2.96 percent average. A year ago at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.74 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac