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Existing Home Sales Decline Slightly as Mortgage Rates Drop

Low mortgage rates didn't help home sales in the month of March as the National Association of Realtors reported a drop in existing home sales. Mortgage rates are lower so far in 2014, current 30 year mortgage rates are at 4.25 percent, down from an average rate of 4.53 percent in early January.

Despite lower mortgage rates, the NAR reported existing home sales fell 0.02 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million in March from 4.60 million in February, and are 7.5 percent below the 4.96 million-unit pace in March 2013.

Housing analysts believed the weakness in the housing market at the start of 2014 was due to the harsh cold winter. Analysts expected a rebound in the March numbers but that hasn't materialized. “There really should be stronger levels of home sales given our population growth,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, via a statement. The sales pace is under-performing historic norms, Yun noted. “In contrast, price growth is rising faster than historical norms because of inventory shortages.”

Yun expects some improvement in the months ahead. “With ongoing job creation and some weather delayed shopping activity, home sales should pick up, especially if inventory continues to improve and mortgage interest rates rise only modestly.” Whether or not this pans out remains to be seen but one thing that should help housing is low mortgage rates.

Average 30 year mortgage rates today are at 4.25 percent but there are many lenders in our database quoting 30 year mortgage rates below the average. For example, the lowest quoted 30 year mortgage refinance rates in our database for Florida are at 3.75 percent with points. In fact we have lenders in all states quoting 30 year refinance rates below the average of 4.25 percent.

Today's mortgage rates on 15 year conforming loans are averaging 3.29 percent, down from last week's average 15 year mortgage rate of 3.39 percent. Checking in our rate database for quotes on 15 year conforming loans, the best rates available are alos well below the average rate. The lowest 15 year refinance rates in the state of New Jersey is at 2.75 percent with just over 1 mortgage point.

Average 30 year jumbo mortgage rates are currently at 4.63 percent, down from the prior week's average 30 year jumbo mortgage rate of 4.68 percent. The best jumbo rates with mortgage points quoted in our database for the state of California are at 4.00 percent with 1 mortgage point.

Current mortgage rates on 15 year jumbo loans are averaging 4.10 percent this week, a decline from the previous week's average 15 year jumbo rate of 4.16 percent. The lowest refinance rates on 15 year jumbo loans in our database are still below 4.00 percent. The lowest rate in the state of Texas is at 3.50 percent with 2 mortgage points.

Average 5/1 conventional adjustable mortgage rates are at 3.28 percent this week, a decline from last week's average 5/1 adjustable rate of 3.36 percent. The best 5 year adjustable refinance rates in our database are considerably below the average rate. Checking on rates in the state of Illinois the best 5 year refi rate is at 2.25 percent with 1.10 mortgage points.

Jumbo adjustable mortgage rates moved higher this week. 5 year jumbo loan rates are averaging 3.52 percent, slightly higher than last week's average 5 year jumbo rate of 3.49 percent. The best 5 year jumbo refinancing rates listed in our database are more than 1.25 percent lower than the average. Seaching our database for rates in New York there are lenders quoting 5 year jumbo rates at 2.25 percent with points.

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Author: Brian McKay
April 28th, 2014