Mortgage Rates Inch Up!

After weeks of declines, mortgage rates reversed course, but are still lower than a year ago.

“While mortgage rates very modestly rose to 4.41 percent this week, they remain below year-ago levels for the fourth week in a row,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s  economist. “In late 2018, mortgage rates rose over a full percentage point from the prior year, which was one of the main reasons that weakness in home sales continued into early 2019. However, the impact of recent lower rates and a strong labor market has led to a rise in purchase mortgage demand as we start the spring home-buying season.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending March 7:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.41 percent,with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 4.35 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.46 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.83 percent, with an average 0.4 point, rising from last week’s 3.77 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.94 percent.
Source: Freddie Mac

Survey shows correlation between consumer attitudes and personal experience

Fannie Mae’s third quarter National Housing Survey shows that those who are exposed to default have similar attitudes about buying a home as those who do not know people who have defaulted.  However, the survey also finds greater pessimism about the economy and personal finances among consumers who know defaulters.

“Knowing someone who has defaulted on their mortgage appears to be correlated with consumers being slightly more pessimistic about the direction of the economy, their finances, and their ability to obtain a mortgage, but does not materially correlate with their desire to own a home or their view of housing as a safe investment,” said Doug Duncan, vice president and chief economist of Fannie Mae.

Owners and renters who know defaulters are as likely to say owning makes more sense than renting, say buying a home is a safe investment and display roughly the same intention to buy a home as those who do not know a defaulter.

However, the survey also finds higher levels of pessimism on several measures related to the broader economy and personal financial prospects among consumers who know people that have defaulted:

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