Mortgage Rates Down 1 Percent In One Year

Freddie Mac Mortgage Rates

Another week, another new low for mortgage rates. 

According to Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate fell 3 basis points to 3.53% last week nationwide. The 3.53% mortgage rate is available to mortgage applicants who are willing to pay 0.7 discount points, on average, plus a full set of closing costs.

One year ago, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate was 4.52%. Today, it’s nearly one percent lower. For every $100,000 borrowed at today’s rates as compared to July 2011, a mortgage applicant will save $57 per $100,000 borrowed, or $684 per year.

Over 30 years of a loan, those savings add up.

30-year fixed rate mortgage rates have now dropped through 5 consecutive weeks, and in 11 of the last 12 weeks, a streak dating back to late-April. Depending where you live, however, you may not get access to 3.53% mortgage rates. As Freddie Mac’s survey reveals, mortgage rates vary by region.

Last week, mortgage rates by region were listed as follows :

  • Northeast Region : 3.56% with 0.7 discount points 
  • West Region : 3.49% with 0.7 discount points
  • Southeast Region : 3.58% with 0.7 discount points
  • North Central Region : 3.52% with 0.7 discount points
  • Southwest Region : 3.56% with 0.7 discount points

Homeowners and home buyers in California, Oregon and Washington, therefore, received the lowest rates in the country, on average. Owners and buyers in Florida and Georgia, by contrast, received the highest rates.

This week, though, mortgage rates are lower everywhere.

With Spain at risk for a sovereign default and China warning of slow growth, mortgage rates began the week by falling yet again. If you’re eligible to refinance, therefore, the timing may be right to lock a mortgage rate. Similarly, if you’re an active home buyer , today’s low rates will bolster your maximum purchasing power.

Talk to your loan officer about capitalizing on the lowest rates of all-time. Rates may not rise beginning next week, but when they do rise, they’ll likely rise quickly.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : July 23, 2012

Freddie Mac mortgage ratesMortgage markets improved last week on expectations for new Federal Reserve stimulus, plus ongoing concerns about the European Union’s future.

Mortgage-backed bonds climbed to new all-time highs, which helped conforming mortgage rates drop to new all-time lows.

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate is now 3.53% nationwide, according to government mortgage-backer Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey. The 3.53% rate is available to mortgage applicants willing to pay 0.7 discount points plus a full set of closing costs where 1 discount point is equal to 1 percent of your loan size.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rate dropped last week, too, falling to 2.83% nationwide, on average.

Even as mortgage rates drop, however, rate shoppers should be wary of a potential rate reversal. This is because July’s rapid drop in mortgage rates, mostly, has been fueled by market speculation.

First, with employment data lagging, inflation pressures low, and slower-than-expected economic growth, Wall Street now believes that the Federal Reserve will launch its third round of quantitative easing next week, a move that would likely include large-scale mortgage bond purchases.

New, Fed-led demand for mortgage bonds would lead mortgage rates lower for homeowners and rate shoppers.

And, second, investors are preparing for a potential sovereign debt default in Spain, the Eurozone’s fourth largest economy. The Greek economy, by contrast, which faces similar struggles, is 5 times smaller than Spain’s. A Spain default, too, would likely lead U.S. mortgage rates lower.

That said, if neither event comes to pass — if the Fed passes no new stimulus and Spain receives an ample-sized bailout — mortgage rates would be expected to rise as Wall Street re-adjusts its expectations for the future.

The change would happen quickly, too.

This week, markets will continue to take their cues from the Fed and the Eurozone, but with an eye toward U.S. housing data. The housing market is linked to economic growth so strong results may lead mortgage rates higher.

The June New Home Sales report is released Wednesday; the June Pending Home Sales Index is released Thursday.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : June 11, 2012

Spain Bailout USD$125 billionMortgage markets worsened last week, halting a multi-week mortgage rate winning streak nationwide. With little economic news on which to trade, investors took their cues from the world’s central banks.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke neither dismissed nor promised new market stimulus in the near future, nor did leaders in the Eurozone. China, however, did cut its interest rates for the first time since the start of the global financial crisis.

Conforming mortgage rates edged higher amid a series of volatile trading sessions. Mortgage bonds moved more sharply as compared to prior weeks and analysts expect volatility to continue.

Last week, the biggest story was the ongoing deterioration of confidence within the Eurozone. While Greece continues to struggle under its national debt load, Spain emerged as the area’s newest bailout candidate. Then, on Saturday, the bailout was confirmed.

In seeking up to 100 billion euros ($125 billion), Spain becomes the fourth European Union nation to seek bailout funds since the debt crisis began nearly three years ago. 

The Spain bailout temporarily overshadows investor concern for Greece and the nation-state’s June 17 election.

Sunday, the citizens of Greece will vote to elect a new government, the outcome of which may determine whether Greece remains a member of the European Union. If Greece leaves the EU, it would likely make a negative impact on equities markets, and would benefit U.S. mortgage rates.

This week, mortgage markets will take their cues from the political and economic developments abroad. Initially, investors are looking favorably upon the Spain resolution, and mortgage rates are rising as a result. As the Greek election nears, however, that trend may change.

With little or no data set for release, this week’s mortgage rates are subject to investor sentiment. Expect volatility.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates : Week Of June 4, 2012

Unemployment RateMortgage markets improved last week in response to ongoing concerns for the European Union and an across-the-board weakening in U.S. economic data — including the much-watched jobs report.

Conforming mortgage rates eased lower last week, falling to a new all-time low for 6th week in a row. The moves have been modest, however, falling just 15 basis points during that period.

Back then, Freddie Mac reported the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage to be 3.90% for borrowers willing to pay 0.8 discount points plus a full set a closing costs.

Today, it reports a rate of 3.75% with 0.7 discount points plus closing costs.

The total savings today as compared to April 19 is $8 per month plus $100 in discount points per $100,000 borrowed. This is not a huge monthly discount, but it still lowers a monthly payment. Home affordability remains at its highest point in recorded history.

Mortgage rates may move lower still.

Last week, there was little improvement in the Eurozone with respect to Greece and its future as a member of the European Union. In addition, Spain and Italy saw their respective borrowing costs rise sharply.

Also, Spain is in the process of natiionalizing one of its largest lenders and investors fear the Spain’s government will soon seek financial assistance.

The uncertainty for the future of Europe’s economic union has been driving demand for the relatively-safe U.S. mortgage bond asset class, a pattern known in trading circles as “safe haven” buying. The added demand pushes bond prices up, and bond yields (and mortgage rates) down.

The weaker-than-expected May jobs report also contributed to last week’s falling rates. Job growth is tied to the economy and when job growth is soft, investors are less willing to take risks in the equity markets. Here, again, bond markets benefit and mortgage rates fall.

This week, there is little economic data set for release so expect mortgage markets to take their cues for political and economic news from abroad. With mortgage rates low, though, the timing may be right for a rate lock.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : May 14, 2012

Homebuilder ConfidenceMortgage markets worsened slightly last week as positive U.S. economic news overshadowed growing concerns for the Eurozone’s future. Political and economic issues continue to weigh on Greece and Spain, and it’s still unknown how France’s new President will change that nation’s fiscal direction. 

Conforming mortgage rates edged higher on the week overall.

Last week was light on economic data, but the figures released suggest an improving U.S. economy.

For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 3.7 million job openings nationwide this past March, marking the highest amount since July 2008. Voluntary separations (i.e. “quit jobs”) increased, too — also at levels not seen since 2008.

Voluntary separations may hint at labor market improvement because employees rarely leave a steady-paying job without the prospect of a new job ahead. Furthermore, the four-week moving average of first-time unemployment claims fell for the first time in a month.

The jobs market is one of two key sectors expected to lead the economy forward this year.

The other is housing and, this week, there will be two key housing reports for Wall Street to review. The first is Tuesday’s homebuilder confidence survey from the National Association of Homebuilders. The second is Wednesday’s Housing Starts data for April.

Mortgage rates may also be affected by the Tuesday release of the Retail Sales report and Consumer Price Index report; and, by the Federal Reserve’s Wednesday release of the FOMC Minutes from its last meeting.

For home buyers and mortgage rate shoppers, mortgage rates remain at all-time lows. According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate nationwide is 3.83% for borrowers willing to pay 0.7 discount points and a full set of closing costs — the lowest rate-and-fee combination in Freddie Mac’s recorded history.

However, low mortgage rates may not last much longer — especially if the Eurozone can reverse course on its ailing economies.

Mortgage rates remain volatile and sensitive to changes in market conditions. If today’s mortgage rates fit your budget, consider locking in.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : April 30, 2012

Fed Funds RateMortgage markets were mostly unchanged last week for the second straight week. Spain made few moves to allay concerns from its investors, the Federal Reserve did little to change its message on the U.S. economy, and newly-released economic data was in-line with expectations.

Conforming mortgage rates idled last week, remaining near all-time lows for the 30-year fixed rate mortgage, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage; and the 5-year ARM.

According to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey, last week’s mortgage rates, as averaged from more than 125 banks nationwide, were as follows :

  • 30-year fixed rate mortgage : 3.88% with 0.7 discount points
  • 15-year fixed rate mortgage : 3.12% with 0.6 discount points
  • 5-year adjustable rate mortgage : 2.85% with 0.6 discount points

A discount point is a one-time closing cost and is equal to one percent of your overall loan size. This means that a mortgage applicant with a $100,000 mortgage and an accompanying 0.7 discount points would be responsible for paying an upfront charge of $700 at the time of closing.

Freddie Mac’s mortgage rates assume full closing costs, too.

This week, it’s unclear whether mortgage rates will rise or fall.

There are few economic data points due for release so mortgage markets are expected to take their cues from Europe where there’s no shortage of story lines.

In Spain, there are protests over new austerity measures. In France, a new President may be elected — one whom opposes austerity. In the Netherlands, a new budget passed that includes austerity measures, but barely.

Each storyline generates uncertainty about the future of Europe and its unified economy. As the uncertainty grows, global investors seek safety in the U.S. mrotgage bond market, a move that helps mortgage rate shoppers. When demand for mortgage bonds is high, mortgage rates tend to improve.

Also affecting mortgage rates this week will be Friday’s Non-Farm Payrolls report.

The economy is expected to have added 165,000 net new jobs in April and the Unemployment Rate is believed to have remained unchanged at 8.2%. If there is a deviation from either of these expectations, mortgage rates will change. If the actual jobs data is stronger than Wall Street expectations, mortgage rates are likely to rise.

If the jobs report is weak, mortgage rates should fall.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : April 23, 2012

FOMC meets this weekMortgage markets were mostly unchanged last week, breaking a three-week winning streak. Wall Street grappled with surprising demand on Spain’s debt issuance and a series of weaker-than-expected data points on U.S. housing.

Conforming mortgage rates rose slightly according to the weekly Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

Nationwide, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate climbed 2 basis points to 3.90%. This rate is available to homeowners willing to pay 0.8 discount points and a full set of closing costs, where 1 discount point is equal to 1 percent of the borrowed amount.

Prior to last week’s survey, just 0.7 discount points were required.

This week, mortgage rates are expected to be volatile. There is a lot of economic data due for release, the Eurozone’s issues with sovereign debt remain unresolved, and the Federal Open Market Committee gets together for a scheduled, 2-day meeting.

On the data front, the week starts with Tuesday’s Consumer Confidence figures and the government’s New Home Sales report. Both have the power to move mortgage rates. The week then concludes with the Pending Home Sales Index; the GDP release; and a series of Treasury auctions.

With respect to Europe, demand remains strong for debt from Spain, but at much higher rates as compared to several weeks ago. The same is true for Italy. Both nations are feared to be at risk of default on their respective sovereign debt. It’s a similar situation to that which occurred in Greece throughout 2011.

Long-term, lingering concerns for Spain and Italy would likely help keep U.S. mortgage rates suppressed.

And, lastly, the Federal Reserve will make a statement to markets Wednesday afternoon. The Fed is the nation’s central banker and its post-meeting press releases have tremendous influence on bond markets, including those for mortgage-backed bonds.

By extension, therefore, the Federal Reserve’s statement has the power to move mortgage rates.

If you’re shopping for mortgage rates, it’s as good of a time as any to lock with your lender. Rates have more room to rise than to fall.