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FHFA Numbers Reveal Slight Rise in Interest Rates Since March

ratesInterest rates on conventional purchase-money mortgages have risen over the past month, according to a recent index from the Federal Housing Financing Agency (FHFA).

The most recent FHFA index, released Tuesday, revealed that interest rates have increased slightly from February to March on several levels. The average interest rates on all mortgage loans for March jumped 3 basis points from February, from 3.77 percent to 3.8 percent. But while this is higher than the month previous, these rates are still significantly lower than the same time last year. In March 2014, the FHFA shows average rates were at 4.22 percent.

According to March’s index, the National Average Contract Mortgage Rate for the Purchase of Previously Occupied Homes by Combined Lenders was up slightly, too, rising from 3.77 to 3.8 percent, and the effective interest rate on all loans was at 3.95 percent for the month, up from 3.92 percent from the month before. This interest rate factors in initial fees, charges and other expenses over the life of the loan.

This is the second month in a row that effective interest rates have been lower than 4 percent. Previously, the industry saw 19 consecutive months of rates above those numbers.

Additionally, the average interest rate on 30-year fixed rate mortgages of $417,000 or less saw an increase of 4 basis points, up to 3.97 percent from 3.91 in February.

According to the FHFA index, the average loan amount for month of March was $310,800, compared to just $294,200 in the month previous. On newly built homes, that average was $339,000, an all-time high for the country.

The average price of these new homes, however, decreased, dropping by about 1 percent to $445,700. Because of this, loan-to-price ratios surpassed the 78-percent mark, something they haven’t done in more than three months.

The FHFA index values are based on a monthly survey of mortgage lenders throughout the United States. Results of these surveys are released at the end of the following month, and April numbers will be released on Thursday, May 28. Check back at the MReport for full details upon its release.

About Author: Aly J. Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer and editor based in Fort Worth, Texas. She has worked for various newspapers, magazines, and publications across the nation, including The Dallas Morning News and Addison Magazine. She has also worked with both the Five Star Institute and REO Red Book, as well as various other mortgage industry clients on content strategy, blogging, marketing, and more.

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