Fed Just Cut Interest Rates

The Federal Reserve today cut interest rates for the first time since the Great Recession took hold in 2008. The Fed says its decision to lower interest rates a quarter-point , which comes after months of pressure from President Donald Trump, is designed to stave off the threat of an economic downturn.

Lower borrowing costs are helping buyers manage rising home prices. For example, buyers who spend $1,500 on monthly mortgage payments can afford to purchase a $402,500 home this year compared to $367,500 last year, when mortgage rates averaged 4.57%, according to realtor.com®. “Last year, buyers would have needed an additional $145 a month on top of the $1,500 to afford a $402,500 home,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist.

Source: “Realtor.com® Reports How Much More Home Buying Power There Is Today Thanks to Lower Mortgage Rates,” Forbes.com (July 30, 2019); “The Fed Just Cut Interest Rates. Here’s What That Means for You,” The New York Times (July 31, 2019); National Association of REALTORS®

Mortgage Loan Rates Are ‘Moving on Up’

Mortgage rates inched higher this week for the second week in a row, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 4.33 percent, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey.

“Mortgage rates crept up further following the uptick in the 10-year Treasury yield as minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last meeting indicated little possibility of a pause in the central bank’s reduction of bond purchases,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. The Federal Reserve plans to wind down its $85 billion per month bond-buying stimulus program this year, which has been helping to keep loan rates low.

Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending Feb. 20:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.33 percent, with an average 0.7 point, rising from last week’s 4.28 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.56 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.35 percent, with an average 0.7 point, rising from last week’s 3.33 percent average. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 2.77 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.08 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 3.05 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.64 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac