Mortgage Rates Center

Keep up with current mortgage rates at HousingWire’s Mortgage Rates Center. Rates are updated daily and include data from Freddie Mac and Optimal Blue.

Optimal Blue data is based on actual rate lock transactions and therefore includes borrowers across the credit spectrum. The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) provides the rates available to the best borrowers.

Freddie Mac PMMS 11/19/2020

The average U.S. mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed loan fell this week to 2.72%, the lowest rate in the survey’s near 50-year history. The average fixed rate for a 15-year mortgage also fell by 6 basis points to 2.28%.

After this week’s record drop, there have now been 17 consecutive weeks when average mortgage rates have been below 3%. This also marks the first time in the survey’s history rates have fallen below 2.75%, and the 13th time this year rates have broken a record.

According to Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, weaker consumer spending data, which accounts for the majority of economic growth, drove mortgage rates to its new record low.

“While economic growth remains unstable, strong housing demand continues to have a domino effect on many other segments of the economy,” Khater said.

PMMS 11/12/2020

The average U.S. mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed loan rose this week to 2.84%, up 6 basis points from the previous all-time record low set last week. The average fixed rate for a 15-year mortgage also gained slightly by 2 basis points to 2.34%.

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This week’s slight gain was most likely a result of positive news about a COVID-19 vaccine, said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

“Despite this rise, mortgage rates remain about a percentage point below a year ago and the low rate environment is supportive of both purchase and refinance demand. Heading into late fall, the housing market continues to grow and buttress the economy,” Khater said.

Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index, a composite index designed to track the housing market and consumers’ desire to sell or buy a home, also revealed consumers and the industry alike are confident that a low rate environment will hold. Those who believe they will rise in the coming 12 months dropped to 32%, and 49% now believe they will stay the same – up from 44% in September.

PMMS 11/5/2020

The average U.S. mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed loan fell 3 basis points this week to 2.78%, the lowest rate 50 years of the PMMS. The average fixed rate for a 15-year mortgage remained unchanged from the previous week at 2.32%.

After this week’s dip, there have now been 15 consecutive weeks when average mortgage rates have been below 3%. This week’s rate also marks the 12th time this year mortgage rates have broken their own record, a sentiment Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said is likely due to political and economic ambiguity.

“Despite the uncertainty that we’ve all experienced this year, the housing market, buoyed by low rates, continues to be a bright spot,” Khater said.

While HousingWire outlined what both a Biden and Trump win would mean for the mortgage industry, observers from across the housing and mortgage space believe interest rates will continue to hover near historic lows for the next several years, regardless of who is in the White House.

PMMS 10/29/2020

The average U.S. mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed loan remained steady this week, gaining one basis point to 2.81%. The average fixed rate for a 15-year mortgage was 2.32%, falling from last week’s 2.33%.

After this week’s dip, there have now been 14 consecutive weeks when average mortgage rates have been below 3%. According to Freddie Mac’s chief economist, Sam Khater, low rates have provided tangible support to the economy at a critical time.

“Strong purchase demand is helping to lift the construction, manufacturing and transportation industries that build new homes and it is also leading to more consumer spending for owners, who are selling or improving their
homes,” said Khater. “On the refinance front, many consumers are smartly taking advantage of the ability to lower their monthly payment, which means they can spend, save or pay down debt more so than they have in the past.”

While one end of the market continues to flourish from demand, 34% of home sellers said they are staying out of the market due to COVID-19’s uncertainty in a recent Zillow survey, and approximately 3 million homeowners are currently in forbearance plans, according to the MBA.

“This is further evidence of the unevenness in the current economic recovery,” said Mike Fratantoni, chief economist of the Mortgage Bankers Association. “The housing market is booming, as shown by the extremely strong pace of home sales last week. However, many homeowners continue to struggle, as the pace of the job market’s improvement has waned.”

PMMS 10/22/2020

The average U.S. mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed loan fell to 2.8% this week, the lowest in Freddie Mac’s survey history. The rate fell one basis points from the week prior. The average fixed rate for a 15-year mortgage was 2.33%, falling from last week’s 2.35%. After this week’s dip, rates have broken records 11 times this year.

“Mortgage rates remain very low, providing homeowners who have not already taken advantage of this environment ample opportunity to do so,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Mortgage rates today are on average more than a full percentage point lower than rates over the last five years.”

While purchase loans are seeing record-low rates, the adverse market fee imposed on refinance loans by the FHFA in August make record lows for those loans unlikely.

During this week’s Mortgage Bankers Association annual event, the heads of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac discussed the adverse market fee.

“As you know, safety and soundness is one, two, and three for us,” said Fannie Mae CEO Hugh Frater. “And for us to play our role in all markets, good and bad, markets small and large, we have to do it safely and soundly with long-term risk management in mind. And that’s the rationale for this change, as the GSEs are shouldering significant risks associated with the pandemic — as the principal risk taker, we have to price that risk appropriately.”

Freddie Mac CEO David Brickman struck a similar tone, saying that the GSEs have provided “extraordinary support” to the market.

PMMS 10/15/2020

The average U.S. mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed loan fell to 2.81% this week, the lowest in Freddie Mac’s survey history. The rate fell six basis points from the week prior. The average fixed rate for a 15-year mortgage was 2.35%, falling from last week’s 2.37% — matching the record set three weeks ago.

“Low mortgage rates have become a regular occurrence in the current environment,” Khater said. “Many people are benefitting as refinance activity remains strong. However, it’s important to remember that not all people are able to take advantage of low rates given the effects of the pandemic.”

Although mortgage applications fell seven basis points last week, purchase applications have now boasted 21 weeks of year-over-year gains.

In September, the Federal Reserve predicted that rates will remain low through 2023.

PMMS 10/8/2020

The average U.S. mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed loan is 2.87% this week, dropping one basis point from last week. The rate is now one basis point from an all-time low set in mid-September. The average fixed rate for a 15-year mortgage was 2.37%, rising one basis point from last week’s 2.36%.

Mortgage rates that have stayed below 3% for 11 consecutive weeks have boosted housing demand, acting as a counter-weight for an economy that is struggling amid the worst public health crisis in more than a century.

“With near-record-low rates, buyer demand remains robust with strong first-time buyers coming into the market,” said Khater. “The demand is particularly strong in more affordable regions of the country such as the Midwest, where home prices are accelerating at the highest rates over the last two decades.”

PMMS 10/1/2020

The average U.S. mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed loan is 2.88% this week. The rate is now two basis points from an all-time low set three weeks ago. The average fixed rate for a 15-year mortgage was 2.36%, one basis point away from the record 2.35% set two weeks ago, the mortgage giant said.

“As a result of low mortgage rates that have stayed under three percent since July, the housing market has seen a strong, upward trajectory during a very uncertain time,” said Khater. “We’re seeing potential homebuyers who now have more purchasing power.”

Pending home sales, measuring signed contracts to purchase properties, soared 8.8% in August to a record high, the National Association of Realtors said in a report on Wednesday.

“Tremendously low mortgage rates – below 3% – have again helped pending home sales climb in August,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Additionally, the Fed intends to hold short-term fed funds rates near 0% for the foreseeable future, which should in the absence of inflationary pressure keep mortgage rates low, and that will undoubtedly aid homebuyers continuing to enter the marketplace.”

PMMS 9/24/2020

The average U.S. mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed loan is 2.9% this week. It’s the ninth consecutive week the rate has been below 3%. The average rate for the less-popular 15-year mortgage was 2.4%.

Sub-3% rates are boosting real estate demand and fueling bidding wars. U.S. home prices jumped more than 2% between May and July, the largest two-month gain on record, as Americans emerging from COVID-19 lockdowns bought real estate, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said in a Wednesday report.

“Historically low interest rates are the primary driver behind the strength in housing demand that we’ve seen in recent months, and that has led housing to be a bright spot for the overall economy,” Robert Dietz, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders, said in an interview.

Sales of existing homes rose to a 14-year high of 6 million at an annualized pace in August, the National Association of Realtors said in a report on Tuesday.

Combined sales of single-family houses, townhomes, condominiums and cooperatively owned apartments rose 2.4% from July, according to the report. Compared to a year ago, last month’s sales were 11% higher, NAR said.

3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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