‘Holding Pattern’: Virus Extends Stable Period For Mortgage Rates
Rates for 30-year loans that have remained almost eerily stable for weeks posted yet another period of minimal change, according to results from Freddie Mac’s latest lender survey.
Uncertainty over the trajectory of the coronavirus and its impact on the economy may have played a role in the average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage dipping 2 basis points this week to 2.86 percent, Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater said in a statement.
“It’s Groundhog Day for mortgage rates, as they have remained virtually flat for over two months,” Khater said in the release. “The holding pattern in rates reflects the markets’ view that the prospects for the economy have dimmed somewhat due to the rebound in new COVID cases.”
For the week ending Sept. 16, 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 last week’s 2.88 percent figure and roughly the same as 2.87 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 2.12 percent with an average 0.6 point, falling from last week’s 2.19 percent and down from a rate of 2.35 percent a year ago. The mark placed the rate for these 15-year loans nearer their 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 2.51 percent with an average 0.1 point, up from 2.42 percent last week and down from 2.96 percent a year ago. Rates on 5-year ARM loans had been hovering near their lowest levels since at least 2005, but now rest above the record-low 2.40 percent rate set during the week ending Aug. 5, 2021.
The survey records average rates for borrowers with excellent credit who put 20 percent down on a home, according to Freddie Mac’s survey methodology. Borrowers with worse credit can expect to qualify for higher interest rates.
The recent stability in rates for 30-year loans is unmatched by any recent period. The previous six weekly averages for 30-year mortgage rates hit percentage marks of 2.87, 2.86, 2.87, 2.87, 2.88 and 2.88, respectively.
For months, Freddie Mac’s chief economist has been predicting an eventual return to higher interest rates down the line as the economy recovers from the impact of the pandemic. He said a number of underlying factors should still ultimately guide the economy in a positive direction.
“While our collective attention is on the pandemic, fundamental changes in the economy are occurring, such as increased migration, the extended continuation of remote work, increased use of automation, and the focus on a more energy efficient and resilient economy,” Khater said in the Freddie Mac release. “These factors will likely lead to significant investment and new post-pandemic economic models that will spur economic growth.”