Mortgage Rates Spring Forward, Only Slightly

For the second consecutive week, mortgage rates edged higher. With slight increases , mortgage rates still are “very attractive for the upcoming spring home-buying season,” Freddie Mac reports.

Freddie Mac reports the following mortgage rates for the week ending March 10:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.68 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 3.64 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.86 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.96 percent, with an average 0.5 point, increasing slightly from last week’s 2.94 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.10 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Home Loan Interest Rates Stay Low Into Spring

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage continues to average below 4 percent – a positive sign launching into the spring home-buying season, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey. Average fixed-rate mortgages moved down this week. Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending March 19:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.78 percent, with an average 0.6 point, dropping from last week’s 3.86 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.32 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.06 percent, with an average 0.6 point, dropping from last week’s 3.10 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.32 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.97 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 3.01 percent average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.02 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Buyers Find More Housing Options This Spring

The number of homes for sale is on the rise, a long-awaited welcome to home buyers who are finding more selection than last spring and less competition, according to realtor.com®’s National Housing Trend Report for March of the 146 markets it tracks.

Inventories of for-sale homes on realtor.com® in March increased 9.5 percent higher than year ago levels, according to the report. The median list price is $199,900 – 5.3 percent higher than in March 2013. The median age of inventory has also risen – 22.9 percent above year ago figures to a median of 102 days on the market.

“These figures suggest that the market is more balanced than it was in 2013, when a shortfall in available supply led to double-digit increases in many markets’ housing prices,” according to the realtor.com® report. “Having more homes on the market may mean more affordable prices for first-time and move-up buyers. Lack of inventory in 2013 led to intense competition, creating another barrier to home ownership.”

“While inventory is still low, the continuing annual lift in the number of homes on the market that we’ve seen over the first months of 2014 is an indicator that buying conditions this year may be notably improved from the frenzied pace of last spring,” says Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Move, Inc.

Source: “Realtor.com Report: Higher Inventory a Welcome Sign for Spring Buyers,” realtor.com (April 17, 2014)

Mortgage Rates ‘Fall Back’ to 6-Week Lows

For the second consecutive week, fixed-mortgage rates eased, offering home buyers a slight bump in affordability in the midst of the spring home-buying season, Freddie Mac announced in its weekly mortgage market report.

“Mortgage rates continued to ease this week as housing starts rose 2.8 percent in March but not as much as expected,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says. “Also, permits fell 2.4 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 990,000, which followed a slight downward revision of 4,000 permits in February.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending April 17:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.27 percent, with an average 0.7 point, dropping from last week’s 4.34 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.41 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.33 percent, with an average 0.6 point, dropping from last week’s 3.38 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.64 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.03 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 3.09 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.60 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

More Homes Hit the Market in Time for Spring

Inventories of homes for sale have increased 10 percent year-over-year, signaling growing seller optimism and a strong start to the spring home-buying season, according to realtor.com®’s latest National Housing Trend Report, which tracks 146 markets.

“Overall, these figures indicate a continued reinforcement of steady gains and market stabilization that we’ve been watching since late last summer,” says Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Move Inc. “Seller confidence is the factor to watch as we head into the spring home-buying season, and these are very encouraging indicators—not only are more homes coming onto the market, but typically we don’t see a rise in asking prices this early into the year. This is the market these sellers have been waiting for.”

Still, realtor.com® notes that inventories are still low by historical standards.

California markets saw some of the biggest rises to inventories. For example, Stockton, Calif., has twice as many homes listed for sale on realtor.com® than it did a year ago, according to the report. Also, Fresno, Bakersfield, Riverside, and Oakland also reported 40 percent or more year-over-year increases in the number of homes for sale.

Source: realtor.com®

“High Expectations” for Spring Housing Market!

Good news! Get ready for the healthiest spring home-buying season since 2007, according to Freddie Mac’s U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for March.

The mortgage giant is forecasting low mortgage rates and increasing housing prices to continue, as well as gradually improving consumer confidence that will likely boost home sales this spring.

Sales are expected to rise 8 to 10 percent in 2013 compared to 2012 numbers, Freddie economists report. Freddie Mac also expects housing starts to rise to 950,000 units this year compared to 780,000 in 2012.

“History shows us not all economic recoveries are created equal, and consumer confidence mirrors this fact,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “With the spring home-buying season upon us, the recent highs in the stock market are a welcome signal of better times ahead. But it will be the gradually declining unemployment rate and steadily improving housing market that will deliver broad-based economic benefits for Americans and, in turn, support the overall recovery.”

Source: Freddie Mac