The Home Buyer's Korner

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March 19th, 2015

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Average Mortgage Rates for March 19th, 2015

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Mortgage interest rates declined on the heels of the FOMC Statement. Freddie Mac reported that lenders were offering conventional 30-year mortgages at an average of 3.78 percent, which is down from 3.86 percent a week ago. The average for 15-year fixed home loans slipped from 3.10 percent to 3.06 percent while the initial rate on loans fixed for the first five years before becoming variable fell from 3.01 percent to 2.97 percent.

The decline was in reaction to remarks by Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen, who said the Fed is in no rush to raise interest rates for the first time since 2006, even though a change in its policy language opened the door for rates to increase in 2015. Most analysts’ are now banking on that happening in the fall.

A year ago at this time, Freddie reported the average rate for a 30-year fixed home loan at 4.32 percent. The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond, generally a proxy for fixed mortgage rates, closed below 2 percent on Wednesday for the first time since Feb. 25.

The housing recovery has been a mixed bag and while some areas like Miami and San Francisco have seen a rebound in home prices and an overall improving market, other areas haven’t been as fortunate.

Chicago continues to see falling home prices while Southern California as seen a recent dropped in home sales compared to a year ago and prices have leveled off for the past nine months.

Nationally, signals have been mixed. Housing starts have been below market expectations, but housing permits were up three percent in February and Southern California is poised for a stronger showing in home sales this spring.

Freddie Mac asks lenders early each week about the terms they are offering to stellar home buyers seeking mortgages of up to $417,000 that conform to the guidelines of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. These home buyers on average would be paying a little more than half of one percent of the loan balance in upfront lender fees and discount points to obtain these rates, while additional third party fees such as appraisals and title insurance are not included in the report data.

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