Real Estate

Ahead Of Fed Tapering Reveal, Mortgage Lenders Kept Rates Steady

Mortgage rates that jumped more than a week ago following a strong jobs report have held steady at those levels since, with 30-year loans remaining well below 3 percent, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly lender survey.

“Mortgage rates stayed relatively flat this week,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater said in a news release. “Housing is in a similar phase of the economic cycle as many other consumer goods. While there is strong latent demand, low supply has caused prices to rise as shortages restrict the amount of sales activity that otherwise would occur.”

For the week ending Aug. 19, Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey reported average rates for the following types of loans:

  • For 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, rates averaged 2.86 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from 2.87 percent last week and lower than 2.99 percent a year ago. Rates for 30-year loans hit an all-time low of 2.65 percent during the week ending Jan. 7, 2021, according to records dating to 1971.
  • Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.16 percent with an average 0.6 point, rising slightly from last week’s 2.15 percent and down from a rate of 2.54 percent a year ago. The mark kept rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgage loans near the all-time low of 2.10 percent set the week ending Aug. 5, 2021, according to records dating to 1991.
  • For 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans, rates averaged 2.43 percent with an average 0.3 point, down from 2.44 percent last week and 2.91 percent a year ago. Rates on 5-year ARM loans are still near their lowest levels since at least 2005, resting just above its lowest point of 2.40 percent during the week ending Aug. 5, 2021.

Freddie Mac’s weekly survey assumes borrowers have excellent credit and are able to put 20 percent down on a home. Borrowers with lower credit scores can expect higher interest rates on purchase loans.

Rates have come down since February and March, when inflation-related concerns drove them temporarily higher for borrowers. Since then, however, rates for 30-year loans have remained around or below 3 percent.

The Federal Reserve has been buying bonds and mortgage-backed securities throughout the pandemic, a measure that has helped keep interest rates low.

Minutes released Wednesday from the July 27-28 meeting of a Federal Reserve committee that sets monetary policy revealed that most members are open to tapering bond purchases the Fed makes to stimulate the economy by the end of this year.

“Looking ahead, most participants noted that, provided that the economy were to evolve broadly as they anticipated, they judged that it could be appropriate to start reducing the pace of asset purchases this year,” the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s last meeting said. Several other members indicated that tapering “was more likely to become appropriate early next year.”

Freddie Mac’s survey includes data reported by lenders between Monday and Wednesday each week. While some may have disclosed their mortgage rates after the Fed minutes became public, most survey responses are typically returned on Tuesday.

Yields on 10-year Treasury notes, which are often an indicator of where mortgage rates are headed, spiked briefly after Wednesday’s release of the Federal Open Market Committee minutes, but on Thursday fell to levels seen earlier in the week.

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