A quick home sale last month in Phoenix. (Justin Sullivan / Getty…)
Mortgage rates are at their lowest level since January, the widely watched Freddie Mac survey shows, with the average for a 30-year fixed-rate loan dropping to 3.43% this week from 3.54% a week ago.
The survey of rates lenders are offering to solid borrowers, released Thursday, said the average rate for a 15-year fixed home loan descended from 2.74% to 2.65%. Borrowers would have paid less than 1% of the loan amount in upfront lender fees and points to obtain the loans.
A lackluster employment report for March and a survey showing that average hourly wages were unchanged tamped down concerns that the Fed might back off the bond-buying spree that has kept rates near record lows, said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.
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A different scenario that has gained ground is that a recent spurt of economic growth and hiring could sputter out, as occurred during the spring of 2011 and again in 2012. Indicators have been seesawing, with first-time jobless claims dropping significantly last week after rising sharply the previous week.
"The weaker the economy remains, especially job growth, the longer these [Federal Reserve] programs will continue to keep interest rates and mortgage rates low,” said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com, another provider of mortgage data.
An HSH survey also showed a decline of about one-tenth of a percentage point in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate, to the lowest level since mid-January.
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Jeff Lazerson, who runs the Mortgage Grader loan brokerage in Laguna Niguel, said borrowers who paid him 1% of the loan balance were able to get 30-year fixed loans early this week at 3.25%.
Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance giant that has been a ward of the government since the financial crisis, polls lenders each week about the terms they are offering to borrowers with excellent credit, 20% down payments or home equity, and the income to repay their debts.
The survey does not include third-party costs often borne by borrowers, such as title insurance and appraisal fees.
US 30 Year Mortgage Rate data by YCharts
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