Mortgage Rates Have Never Been This Low, For This Long

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Mortgage Rates Have Never Been This Low, For This Long

Freddie Mac: Mortgage Rates Remain Ultra-Low

Mortgage rates remained unchanged near record-low levels, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey released Thursday.

The 30-year fixed rate was unchanged at 3.43 percent, marking the ninth week below 3.5%.

Mortgage rates are showing surprising resolve. At the end of June, Britain voted to leave the European Union. This unprecedented move, now known as Brexit, sent mortgage rates sliding to current levels.

Rates have refused to move up since then, staying within a tight range. This is giving home buyers and refinancing homeowners extended opportunity to lock-in historic rates.

Current and future homeowners agree: it’s an ideal time to shop for a mortgage.

Click to see today’s rates (Aug 26th, 2016)

How Long Will Low Rates Last?

Each week, government agency Freddie Mac surveys 125 banks for its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), a recap of the current “going rate” for three common mortgage loans.

The survey covers the conventional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, and 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).

Mortgage rates were surprisingly steady this week.

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage: unchanged at 3.43 percent
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage: unchanged at 2.74 percent
  • 5-year ARM: down one basis point to 2.75 percent

Mortgage consumers are asking how long rates can stay this low. Anything can happen in the mortgage market, but many groups are calling for an extended period of low rates.

Freddie Mac estimates that the 30-year fixed rate will remain at or below 3.7% into 2017. That forecast should be encouraging. Still, consumers should be wary of unexpected increases.

The mortgage rate market moves quickly based on up-to-the-minute information. In 2013, rates increased a full 100 basis points (1.0%) in eight weeks in reaction to an approaching Federal Reserve policy shift.

No one expects such a sharp upturn in 2016; at the same time, consumers should consider the effects of rising rates on their homeownership goals.

Ultra-low rates are here now, providing a special opportunity for prepared mortgage shoppers.

Click to see today’s rates (Aug 26th, 2016)

Low Rates, Low-Downpayment Programs Spur Buyers

Home buyer demand shows no sign of slowing down into 2017.

Low mortgage rates and rising home values are winning over on-the-fence home shoppers. Many realize now is the time to buy.

Home buying power is at its strongest level in nearly three years. Rates are down about 50 basis points (0.50%) since the beginning of 2016. That’s equal to a $17,000 boost in buying power on a $350,000 home.

So, even though home values are rising, homes are not getting more expensive for buyers who get a mortgage. Reduced rates are offsetting potentially higher monthly payments.

And buyers that are getting a mortgage have chosen the right time in history to do so.

A recent report by loan software company Ellie Mae states that 75% of purchase loan applications “closed” in July, meaning the home buyer successfully completed the loan application and home buying process.

Compare that to a less-than-ideal 63 percent closing rate in 2014.

Lenders are loosening standards and getting more applicants approved. Home purchase mortgage programs are improving too.

A little-known program called HomeSteps is offered by Freddie Mac, the same agency that conducts the weekly rate survey. It offers special financing in 10 states for its current book of properties. These homes can be purchased at five percent down with no mortgage insurance.

Homes are available nationwide, even outside of the states in which special financing is offered.

Furthermore, owner-occupying residents can make offers with no competition from investors for the first 20 days the property is listed.

Other niche mortgage programs are helping home buyers, too. The USDA loan accounts for only a few percent of all home purchase loans, but it is one of the most advantageous financing options available. It requires zero downpayment, and, if the appraised value is higher than the purchase price, the home buyer can finance their closing costs into the total loan amount.

USDA loans are eligible for homes in designated “rural” areas. These geographical boundaries account for 97% of U.S. land mass.

Some entire states are eligible.

Many suburban neighborhoods are USDA-eligible, too. Check with your lender to see if your area is eligible before you opt for an FHA loan.

Whereas USDA finances your purchase price in full, FHA requires 3.5% down. Still, FHA has no geographical restrictions, making it the right choice for 23% of today’s buyers, and about 40% of buyers age 37 and younger.

It’s not difficult to see why so many choose the FHA loan program. It ultra-lenient on credit scores. Some lenders are approving 580-credit-score buyers.

For many new college graduates, though, it’s not low credit that hinders them from buying, but the lack of a credit score.

That’s not a problem with FHA.

According to guidelines, lenders should not turn down a home buyer due to little or no credit history. Rather, an alternative credit report should be created using payments for utilities, rent, auto insurance, and even cell phone service.

Other home buying programs include the popular VA home loan, which accounts for about nine percent of all purchases according to Ellie Mae.

Eligible U.S. military veterans include those who have served for 90 days during wartime, 181 days during peacetime, or served six years in the National Guard or Reserves.

These home buyers are eligible for a zero-down loan that requires no mortgage insurance. That could save the veteran hundreds of dollars per month, which they could apply toward a bigger home purchase price, home improvements, or other financial goals.

The right loan program depends on your situation, but the important thing is to take the opportunity to purchase a home using one of the programs, before home prices — or rates — rise too much.

What Are Today’s Rates?

Mortgage rates are dropping, and there are few reasons left for current and future homeowners to delay securing a fantastically low rate.

Get a rate quote and lock in a rate. No social security number is required to start, and all quotes come with instant access to your live mortgage credit scores.

Show Me Today’s Rates (Aug 26th, 2016)

The information contained on The Mortgage Reports website is for informational purposes only and is not an advertisement for products offered by Full Beaker. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not reflect the policy or position of Full Beaker, its officers, parent, or affiliates.

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