Business

Mortgage rates in retreat

But they remain near seven-year high

A proposal from the California Association of Realtors could encourage older homeowners to sell. (Dreamstime)
A proposal from the California Association of Realtors could encourage older homeowners to sell. (Dreamstime)

WASHINGTON — Mortgage rates moved lower for the second time in three weeks.

According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average slipped to 4.83 percent, with an average 0.5 point.

Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.

It was 4.86 percent a week ago and 3.94 percent a year ago.

The 15-year fixed-rate average fell to 4.23 percent, with an average 0.5 point. It was 4.29 percent a week ago and 3.27 percent a year ago.

The five-year adjustable rate average fell to 4.04 percent with an average 0.3 point.

“Mortgage rates declined slightly this week as continued market volatility caused bond rates to pause their upward trajectory,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com.

“Stocks and bonds appear to be reacting to the cost increases businesses are facing, which has led to uncertainty over profitability.”

Today’s lower mortgage rates are a mixed bag for housing. Builders are facing the same cost increases as other businesses.

This is making it next to impossible to build entry-level homes, which could eventually hold back the homeownership growth rate.

Fueled by first-time homebuyers, the homeownership rate rose to 64.4 percent in the third quarter.

However, sluggish data are raising concerns about a slowdown in the housing market. Home price gains were below 6 percent for the first time in a year, according to the most recent Case-Shiller home prices index. Existing and new-home sales fell last month, while pending home sales were flat.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“The healthy economy, which grew 3.5 percent in the third quarter, continues to keep overall housing demand high,” said Bob Broeksmit, Mortgage Bankers Association president and chief executive.

“A volatile October for the stock market, however, as well as rates being much higher than a year ago, appear to be causing some prospective buyers to pause. As a result, purchase applications last week were down from a year ago for the first time since August.”

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

CONTINUE READING

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.