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How Will Falling Rates Affect Homebuyer Sentiments?

Mortgage Rates slipped for the second consecutive week according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market survey. The data from this survey showed that 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.4 percent falling from 4.44 percent recorded last week. However, on an annual basis, the rates still remained higher than the 4.10 percent recorded during the same period last year.

“After dropping earlier this week on trade-related anxiety in financial markets, the benchmark 10-year Treasury stabilized on Wednesday, but at a level slightly lower than from the start of last week. Mortgage rates followed and fell for the second consecutive week,” said Len Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist at Freddie Mac.

The data indicated that 15-year FRMs averaged 3.87 percent and were down from 3.90 percent last week. However, these also remained above the 3.36 percent rate recorded during the same period in 2017. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) also averaged lower during the week at 3.62 percent compared to 3.66 percent in the prior week.

“Rates decreased slightly for a second week as recent uncertainty offset strong job market conditions and kept longer-term rates low,” said Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.com. “This slight step down in mortgage rates is undoubtedly welcome by home shoppers who faced swift increases at the beginning of the year.”

While mortgage rates have decreased in the past couple of weeks, Kiefer said that they still remain modestly higher than last year. “Though rates on the 30-year fixed mortgage are up 0.3 percentage points from the same week a year ago, a robust labor marking is helping home purchase demand weather modestly higher rates,” he said. “The MBA reported in their latest Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey that the Purchase Index was up 5 percent from a year ago indicating that this spring is on track for a modest expansion in purchase mortgage activity.”

Hale cautions though, saying that while any improvement is great for buyers it has to be put in the context of a homebuyer’s needs. “To buy the typical home listed on realtor.com in March, today’s rate means you’re paying an extra $705 in the year versus what you might have paid if you’d locked in January 4th’s rate,” Hale said.

About Author: Radhika Ojha

Radhika Ojha, Online Editor at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her master’s degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Dallas, Texas. You can contact her at Radhika.Ojha@theMReport.com.

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