Rates Hover Near 2-Year Lows

Lower mortgage rates are proving to be a boon for home shoppers.

“While the continued drop in mortgage rates has paused, home buyer demand has not,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “This is evident in increased purchase activity and loan amounts, indicating that home buyers still have the willingness and capacity to purchase homes. Today’s low rates, strong job market, solid wage growth, and consumer confidence are typically important drivers of home sales.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending June 20:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.84%, with an average 0.5 point, up from last week’s 3.82% average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.57%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.25%, with an average 0.4 point, falling from last week’s 3.26% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 4.04%.
Source: Freddie Mac

Rates Hold at 2-Year Lows

“Mortgage rates were mostly unchanged from last week due to easing of trade tensions with Mexico, which helped stabilize markets,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “These historically low rates should provide continued opportunities for current homeowners to refinance their mortgages—which combined with new home buyer activity—will help sustain the momentum in the housing market in 2019.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending June 13:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.82%, with an average 0.6 point, unchanged from last week. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.62%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.26%, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 3.28% average. A year ago, rates averaged 4.07%.
Source: Freddie Mac

Rates Drop to 2-Year Lows

This marks the sixth consecutive weekly decline for mortgage rates, leaving some borrowers wondering how low will they go. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.82% this week, the lowest average since September 2017.

“While the drop in mortgage rates is a good opportunity for consumers to save on their mortgage payment, our research indicates that there can be a wider dispersion among mortgage rate offers,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “By shopping around and getting a single additional mortgage rate quote, a borrower can save an average of $1,500.”

Freddie Mac reports the following rates for the week ending June 6:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.82%, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 3.99%. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.54%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.28%, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 3.46% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 4.01%.
Source: Freddie Mac

Homeowners may ‘Benefit from Refinancing’

A recent sharp drop in mortgage rates hasn’t unlocked savings just for those looking to purchase a home—homeowners may also benefit. About 5.9 million borrowers could see their rates drop by at least 75 basis points by refinancing their mortgages, according to Black Knight, a mortgage software and analytics firm. That is up by 2 million in the past month alone.

That’s the largest population of eligible borrower candidates in nearly three years for savings. The savings could add up to about $271 per month per borrower.

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.94% in the latest week.

Loan Rates Back in 3% Territory

For the first time since January 2018, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has dropped below 4%.

“Lower rates should, however, give a boost to the housing market, which has been on the upswing with both existing- and new-home sales picking up recently,” says Sam Khater, with Freddie Mac.

Freddie Mac reports the following for the week ending May 30:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgagesaveraged 3.99%, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 4.06% average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.56%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.46%, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 3.51% average. A year ago, they averaged 4.06%.
Source: Freddie Mac

Home Buyers: Going to the Exurbs

In their search for affordability, home buyers are taking their house hunts further out from the city limits. Exurbs are the outskirts of major metro areas that lie beyond the suburbs. Many offer more land and greater affordability in new-home construction.

Single- and multifamily activity in the exurbs makes up only a small share of permit activity across the country, but their quarterly growth rates reached a new high in the first quarter of 2019, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ new Home Building Geography Index. Single-family permit activity has posted a 5.6% year-over-year growth rate, which is higher than that for large metro areas and suburbs, the index reveals.

Source: “Exurbs Grow During a Weak First Quarter per NAHB HBGI,” National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing blog (May 28, 2019)

Mortgage Rates Continue Decline

“Mortgage rates fell for the fourth consecutive week and continued the medium-term trend of lower rates since late 2018,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “The drop in mortgage rates is causing purchase demand to rise, and the mix of demand is skewing to the higher end as more affluent consumers are typically more responsive to declines in rates.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending May 23:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.06%, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 4.07% average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.66%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.51%, with an average 0.4 point, falling from a 3.53% average last week. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 4.15%.
Source: Freddie Mac

Consider Adding a ‘Granny Flat’

Home improvement professionals say they’re fielding more inquiries from homeowners about adding accessory dwelling units—often nicknamed “granny flats.” A fifth of remodeling contractors say they undertook projects over the last year to create an ADU by converting an existing space, and a similar number say they created an ADU by building a new addition to a property, according to a new survey released by the National Association of Home Builders.

ADUs are smaller units added to a property, and they can be pricey to build. Only 6 percent of remodeling contractors report completing an ADU project for less than $25,000. Three-fourths say ADU projects cost at least $50,000, and 28 percent report projects costing at least $150,000.

Source: “Many Remodelers Are Now Creating ADUs,” National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing blog (May 22, 2019)

Who Needs to Downsize?

A growing number of baby boomers are choosing not to downsize in retirement. Instead, they’re opting to remain in the homes where they raised their children, USA Today reports. But their reluctance to move is contributing to low inventory across the country, says realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale.

Baby boomers “have refused to follow what the traditional expectations were,” Barbara Risman, a sociology professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told USA Today. Baby boomers, mostly between the ages of 54 to 73, are working longer and, therefore, putting retirement off longer than previous generations. Their millennial children increasingly are living at home with them and staying well into adulthood.

For baby boomers who do plan to move, 43% say they want their next home to be the same size as their current one. Twenty-two percent say they want their next home to be even larger, according to a January surveyof 50- and 60-year-olds by Del Webb.

Homeowners’ Top Neighborhood Gripes

The wrong neighborhood can make for an unhappy homeowner.

A new survey from Porch.com, a home remodeling website, surveyed about 1,000 consumers to find the biggest neighborhood turnoffs. Noise, traffic, and crime were the chief concerns of buyers. Noise topped the list of neighborhood turnoffs, with 41% of respondents citing it as their top gripe, according to the survey. In fact, noise proved to be an even bigger deterrent than a high crime rate.

More details on illustrations at source: “Moving Matters,” Porch.com (May 2019)