Mortgage Loan Rates in a ‘Falling Streak’

For the fifth consecutive week, mortgage rates inched down, lowering borrowing costs for home buyers and refinancers, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey. This week’s national average on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage sank to its lowest level since late October.

“Fixed mortgage rates eased a bit for the fifth consecutive week as reports that existing home sales are up 1.3 percent but not as much as expected,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “As the spring home buying season continues, we see stronger consumer confidence as house prices remain on the rise.”

Freddie Mac reports the following rate averages for the week ending May 29:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.12 percent, with an average 0.6 point, down from 4.14 percent last week. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.81 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.21 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from 3.25 percent the previous week. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.98 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.96 percent, with an average 0.3 point, holding the same as last week. Last year at this time, 5-year rates averaged 2.66 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Housing Recovery at a ‘Turning Point’

The housing recovery is at a “turning point,” say economists at Wells Fargo Securities, but it needs more jobs and income growth in order to pick up steam.

High unemployment remains a drag on the housing recovery, severely limiting the upside for housing demand nationwide, according to the latest WFS Housing Chartbook. For the housing recovery to gain more traction, “overall employment conditions need to improve further.”

Wells Fargo economists have lowered their projections for new home sales, estimating 440,000 new home sales this year, which would be up 19 percent from last year. In July, Wells Fargo economists had predicted a 24 percent increase in new home sales.

Source: “Wells Fargo Economists Reduce New Home Sales Forecast,” National Mortgage News (Oct. 3, 2013)

Housing Scorecard Shows Gains in ‘Fragile’ Recovery

The housing market is making key progress in home prices and sales, but officials warn that the overall Housing Scorecard for March in the Obama administration’s Housing Scorecard for March.

“Despite the positive news, we have important work ahead since there are so many families and individuals still struggling,” says Kurt Usowski, HUD deputy assistant secretary for economic affairs.

In 2012, home owner equity grew by more than $1.64 trillion. Rising home values have lifted 1.7 million home owners above water again, the Housing Scorecard notes.

Home prices and home sales have shown large gains in the past year. Existing-home sales in February were up 10 percent year-over-year, the highest since November 2009. New-home sales were up 12 percent year-over-year in February, which is the second highest level since April 2010, the administration’s report noted.

Source: Obama Administration Housing Scorecard for March