Mortgage Rates: Time to Refinance?

by Real estate financingMission+
3 minutes read
Stock market volatility might be doing a number on your 401(k), but for house hunters it’s been good news. Investors seeking calm are pouring money into the mortgage market, which is pushing down costs for buyers.
Mortgage rates fell for the fifth-straight week, with average 30-year, fixed-rate loan coming in at 3.72 percent. A week ago it was 3.79 percent, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey. Home loans haven’t been this cheap since late April, when the 30-year fixed averaged 3.68 percent.

mortgage rates
Source: Freddie Mac

This isn’t what we expected when the Fed raised short-term borrowing costs in December, Freddie Mac chief economist Sean Becketti said. “For now, though, sub-4-percent mortgage rates are providing a longer-than-expected opportunity for mortgage borrowers to refinance.”

mortgage rates
Source: Freddie Mac

Fed policymakers meet again in March, but economists put the odds of another rate hike then at less than 10 percent. Most expect Chair Janet Yellen and her team to act in June. Don’t fret if they do. Mortgages are having a historic run, which probably will continue for a while.
“Of all the concern we have, the availability of bank credit to both businesses and consumers isn’t one of them,” said Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist of Northern Trust and chairman American Bankers Association economic committee, which released its annual forecast this week. “Housing, which is gradually finding its footing, will continue to do nicely.”
We think credit availability is a concern, especially for first-time and self-employed borrowers. And the housing recovery’s progress has been mixed. But low mortgage rates are continuing to drive sales and prices.
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