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September 2018
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Lowest Mortgage Rates Seen by Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac announced another record today for the lowest interest rates since they began recording mortgage interest rates in 1971. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage reported averages of 4.69% for the week ending June 24th. Fifteen-year fixed mortgage rates fell to a 4.13% average which was also slightly lower than the previous week. VA mortgage remain appealing to military vets because the record low VA rates are still available as well. If you already have a VA loan but need a lower interest rate, consider the VA streamline.

New and existing home sales showed declines in May, Nothaft pointed out. “Existing sales fell 2.2%, compared to the market consensus forecast of a 6% gain, based on figures published by the National Association of Realtors. Sales of new homes fell 32.7% to an annualized rate of 300,000 units, which was the largest monthly drop and slowest pace since records began in 1963, according to the Census Bureau,” he said.

Home Mortgage Rates Hit 2010 Low

Mortgage rates fell last week as the turmoil in Europe sparked a flight to safety among investors. According to financial publisher HSH, mortgage interest rates ended at 5.01% last Friday, down from 5.15% at the beginning of the week. But there’s no guarantee that home loan rates will stay low because there’s so much volatility in the market right now. If the Euro rallies or we get good economic news in U.S. economy would surely raise interest rates almost as quickly as they declined. Keith Gumbinger of HSH said, “These things are fleeting.”

The Mortgage Bankers Association said that low rates caused a flurry of refinance activity, with applications up 15% from the previous week. But new home loan applications dropped by nearly 10%, a possible sign that the expiration of the home-buyer tax credit pulled some sales into April that might have occurred in May. Current VA rates were lower than anticipated and VA refinancing volumes rose sharply as a result. Conforming home mortgage rates ended last week just above record lows set in December. Surprisingly, rates have fallen below where they were at the end of March, when the Federal Reserve ended its purchase of $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities. Most analysts had expected rates to move up after the Fed wound down its purchases.

Which Way Will Mortgage Rates Go?

Mortgage interest rates continue to hover around the 5% mark. Conforming, FHA and VA mortgage rates all continue to be reported in the low 5 percent range for home loans and mortgage-refinancing. There have been positive signs in the last quarter regarding job losses, the financial markets and even the housing sector, but economic recovery is likely still a few months away, Freddie Mac’s chief economist said today. In an article titled, “Are We There Yet?” the outlook from Freddie Mac’s Frank E. Nothaft for 2010 is mostly positive, although there are cautionary flags ahead – particularly with higher mortgage interest rates and the expiration of home-buyer tax credits.

Most economists will be looking at the aftermath from the government’s winding down of its purchases of mortgage loan backed securities from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. By discontinuing its purchase program in April, the central bank is hoping that private buyers of mortgage-backed securities will return, and rates won’t rise much after that. Investors in mortgaged-backed securities have stayed mostly on the sidelines. “U.S. Department of the Treasury MBS purchases were completed by year-end, and Federal Reserve purchases of MBS and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae debt are scheduled to terminate by the end of the first quarter 2010 – both potentially pose the risk of a rise in mortgage rates relative to benchmark yields,” Nothaft said.

Another potential strain on interest rates is the expiration of tax credits for home buyers. Under the federal program, home purchase contracts must be signed by April 30 to qualify for the tax credits. “The tax credits have likely caused some families to purchase a home earlier than they might have otherwise, thus moving sales forward in time and helping support the housing market. High affordability and improved buyer sentiment further bolster sales,” Nothaft wrote.

So when will we get there? “While there may be some bumps along the way, the transition into economic recovery appears to be underway as we head into 2010: real economic growth in the 3 to 3.5 percent range, a cessation of job losses in the first quarter, rising home sales, and a strengthening of housing starts in some markets,” Nothaft wrote “We should be ‘there’ in the next few months, if not already.” Read the original article online.