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Low Mortgage Rates to Help Existing Home Sales in the Coming Months

Mortgage rates have fallen in 2014 but lower rates didn't bring buyers into the market as the harsh cold winter zapped existing home sales. Housing analysts expected to see a sharp rebound in existing home sales during the spring thaw but that hasn't happened yet.

The National Association of Realtors' Pending Home Sales Index increased a paltry 0.4 percent to 97.8 in April. The index increased from 97.4 in March, but is 9.2 percent below April 2013 when it was 107.7. Although the spring housing market hasn't been robust, the coming months may be different.




Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, expects a gradual uptrend in home sales.
Higher inventory levels are giving buyers more choices, and a slight decline in mortgage interest rates this spring is raising prospective home buyers’ confidence. An uptrend in closed sales is expected, although some months will encounter a modest setback.

Mortgage rates were expected to increase early in 2014 since the Federal Reserve has been tapering their purchases of long term bond and mortgage backed securities. If mortgage rates had increased, home sales would have been a lot weaker. Thankfully that wasn't the case. Eventually, mortgage rates will move higher this year but hopefully the housing market will be healthier.

Mortgage rates today on 30 year conventional loans are averaging 4.15 percent, down from last week's average 30 year mortgage rate of 4.17 percent. Average 30 year rates have been in a downtrend this year, falling from around 4.60 percent to the current level of 4.15 percent.

By the end of 2014, average 30 year mortgage rates are expected to head towards 5.00 percent. Higher mortgage rates make housing less affordable for prospective homeowners financing their purchase. If you're thinking of buying a home in 2014, do so earlier than later in the year so you can lock in a lower mortgage rate.

Current mortgage rates on 15 year conforming loans are averaging 3.17 percent, a decline from an average 15 year mortgage rate of 3.21 percent the prior week. Average 15 year rates are also lower so far this year, falling from a high of just above 3.50 percent. We might see 15 year rates fall towards 3.00 percent in the coming weeks but by the end of the year rates will head towards 4.00 percent.

Today's mortgage rates on 5/1 conforming loans are averaging 3.28 percent, unchanged from last week's average 5 year rate. Short term adjustable rates have also fallen in 2014. Back in early January, rates on 5 year conventional ARMs were averaging 3.67 percent. Right now there are some lenders quoting 5 year adjustable refinance rates as low as 2.25 percent with points.

30 year jumbo mortgage rates are currently averaging 4.50 percent, a slight decline from the previous week's average 30 year jumbo rate of 4.51 percent. Jumbo rates have also fallen so far in 2014 but not as much as conforming rates. In early January, the average 30 year jumbo rate was at 4.65 percent, only 14 basis points higher than the current rate.

15 year jumbo mortgage interest rates bucked the downtrend this week. Average 15 year jumbo rates are at 4.01 percent, an increase from last week's average rate of 3.99 percent. Average 15 year jumbo rates have also increased in 2014. The low point for 15 year rates was 3.88 percent, 13 basis points lower from the current average rate.

5 year jumbo adjustable rates also increased this week. 5 year jumbo rates are averaging 3.37 percent, up from last week's average rate of 3.35 percent. So far this year, average 5 year jumbo rates are also higher from January's low of 3.00 percent.

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Author: Brian McKay
June 1st, 2014