Several mortgage interest rates tick upwards
Several benchmark mortgage rates ticked up this week. The average rates on 30-year fixed and 15-year fixed mortgages both rose. The average rate on 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages, meanwhile, declined.
Rates for mortgages are constantly changing, but they continue to represent a bargain compared to rates before the Great Recession. If you’re in the market for a mortgage, it may make sense to lock if you see a rate you like. Just make sure you’ve looked around for the best rate first.
The average 30-year fixed-mortgage rate is 3.07 percent, up 4 basis points since the same time last week. Last month on the 3rd, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was lower, at 3.06 percent.
At the current average rate, you’ll pay principal and interest of $425.39 for every $100,000 you borrow. That’s $2.17 higher compared with last week.
The average 15-year fixed-mortgage rate is 2.62 percent, up 4 basis points since the same time last week.
Monthly payments on a 15-year fixed mortgage at that rate will cost around $672 per $100,000 borrowed. The bigger payment may be a little tougher to find room for in your monthly budget than a 30-year mortgage payment would, but it comes with some big advantages: You’ll save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan in total interest paid and build equity much more rapidly.
The average rate on a 5/1 ARM is 3.04 percent, ticking down 2 basis points since the same time last week.
These loan types are best for those who expect to sell or refinance before the first or second adjustment. Rates could be much higher when the loan first adjusts, and thereafter.
Monthly payments on a 5/1 ARM at 3.04 percent would cost about $424 for each $100,000 borrowed over the initial five years, but could climb hundreds of dollars higher afterward, depending on the loan’s terms.
A number of economic factors influence mortgage rates. Among them are inflation and unemployment. Higher inflation typically leads to higher mortgage rates. The opposite is also true; when inflation is low, mortgage rates typically are as well. As inflation increases, the dollar loses value. That drives investors away from mortgage-backed securities (MBS), which causes the prices to decrease and yields to increase. When yields move higher, rates become more expensive for borrowers.
Generally speaking, when the economy is strong, more people buy homes. That drives demand for mortgages. Increased demand for mortgages can cause rates to increase. The opposite is also true; less demand can lead to lower rates.
Mortgage rates have been volatile because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Generally, though, rates have been low. For a while, some lenders were increasing rates because they were struggling to deal with the demand. In general, however, rates are consistently below 4 percent and even dipping into the mid to low 3s. This is an especially good time for people with good to excellent credit to lock in a low rate for a purchase loan. However, lenders are also raising credit standards for borrowers and demanding higher down payments as they try to dampen their risks.
Mortgage rates have hovered around all-time lows in recent months, but where they go from here is nearly impossible to predict. Much depends on the direction of the economy, and how well public health officials can contain the coronavirus pandemic. The general consensus: If the economy continues to bounce back, and if drug makers are successful in developing a vaccine, rates will rise.
On the other hand, if the economy struggles because of coronavirus-related setbacks, mortgage rates will remain at record lows or fall even further.
In this housing boom, mortgage rates have been a mixed bag for buyers. Low rates give borrowers more buying power. A $300,000 loan at 4 percent equates to a monthly payment of $1,432.
If rates fall to 3 percent, the payment plunges to $1,265.
One downside, however, is that a significant decline in mortgage rates can help push up home prices. Indeed, home values have increased in recent months.
Here’s an example to show how soaring home prices and plunging mortgage rates can have offsetting effects. Let’s say you chose not to buy a $300,000 home a year ago, when the 30-year mortgage rate was around 3.75 percent. Your 20 percent down payment would’ve been $60,000 and your monthly payment would’ve been $1,111.
The price of the same house has jumped to $335,000 today. However, you can get a 30-year mortgage at 3 percent. As a result, your monthly payment rises only slightly, to $1,130. However, you will have to come up with an extra $7,000 to make a 20 percent down payment.
The answer to “is now a good time to buy a house?” is never straightforward, regardless of the housing and mortgage rate environment. It always depends. Do you have a steady income, good credit and money saved for a down payment and repairs? If the answer to all of those is yes, you’re ready to buy.
However, the pandemic has led to an even greater shortage of homes. That’s caused a bidding war and rising prices. Those trends mean it can be a frustrating market for buyers.