Mortgage Rates Ease for Second Straight Week
The decline comes after rates spiked dramatically over the past month over worries the Federal Reserve would curb its bond-purchase program – giant stimulus policies involving $85 million worth of Treasury notes and mortgage-backed securities that have helped spur growth in a recovering housing market.
Three weeks removed from hitting a two-year high, the average rate on a 30-year fixed eased to 4.31 percent, down 0.08 percentage point from 4.37 a week ago, according to the latest survey by mortgage lender Freddie Mac. The 30-year fixed loan neared a historic low as recently as early May before spiking to 4.46 percent in the last week of June. It was at 3.49 percent at this time one year ago.
The average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage saw its own decline, albeit a slight one. Previously trending at 3.41 percent, the average on a 15-year fixed loan fell by 0.02 percentage point to 3.39 percent this week. It previously achieved a historic low in early May, when it fell to 2.56 percent. A year ago, the average rate on a 15-year fixed was 2.8 percent.
In a statement, Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft said the relief “should help to alleviate market concerns of a slowdown in the housing market.”
“Thus far, existing home sales for June were the second highest since November 2009 and new home sales were the strongest since May 2008,” Nothaft continued. “In addition, the low inventories of homes for purchase are putting upward pressure on house prices.”
The positive signs from June sales bode well for the housing market moving forward, especially after it weathered its first significant spike in key mortgage rates.
The average rate on a 5-year hybrid adjustable loan fell slightly from 3.17 percent a week ago to 3.16 percent. After holding firm at 2.66 percent for four consecutive weeks, the average on a 1-year hybrid adjustable loan dropped by 0.01 percentage point this week to 2.56 percent.
Although mortgage loans remain historically low, home buyers and home owners looking to refinance may want to act quickly to lock in affordable rates. In the latest Mortgage Rate Trend Index by Bankrate.com, 91 percent of the mortgage analysts and experts polled believe average loans will trend upward or remain unchanged over the next week.
“Rates have moved significantly higher in the last five weeks,” says Academy Mortgage branch manager Derek Egeberg. “There is greater risk of continued moves higher than potential of a market move lower. Advice is to lock if you are a buyer with a property under contract.”