Average Rate on 30-Year Mortgage Slips to 4.31%

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
mortgages interest rates home sales housing market loans
Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg via Getty Images
By MARCY GORDON

WASHINGTON -- Average rates on U.S. fixed mortgages fell for the second straight week, a welcome sign for homebuyers hoping to lock in lower rates that had spiked earlier this month.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average on the 30-year loan fell to 4.31 percent. That's down from 4.37 percent last week but nearly a full percentage point higher than in early May. The rate reached a two-year high of 4.51 percent two weeks ago.

The average on the 15-year fixed loan declined to 3.39 percent, down from 3.41 percent last week

While rates remain low by historical standards, they have risen in recent weeks after the Federal Reserve indicated it might slow its bond purchases later this year. The $85-million-a-month in bond purchases have kept long-term interest rates low, encouraging more borrowing and spending.
Sponsored Links


Mortgage rates tend to follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which rose sharply after Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed might reduce its bond-buying program. But the yield has since stabilized after Bernanke and other members emphasized that any change in the bond purchases would be tied to the economy's health -- not a calendar date. And Bernanke said the Fed would likely continue other low-interest rate policies for the foreseeable future because unemployment remains high and inflation low.

Low mortgage rates have contributed to a housing recovery that has helped drive economic growth this year.

Greater demand, along with a tight supply of homes for sale, has pushed up home prices. It also has led to more home construction, which has created more jobs.

This week the government said sales of new homes rose 8.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 497,000, the highest since May 2008.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country Monday through Wednesday each week. The average doesn't include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.
  • The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was 0.8 point this week, up from 0.7 point last week. The fee for a 15-year loan also rose to 0.8 point from 0.7 point.
  • The average rate on a one-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 2.65 percent from 2.66 percent. The fee was unchanged at 0.4 point.
  • The average rate on a five-year adjustable mortgage eased to 3.16 percent from 3.17 percent. The fee rose to 0.7 point from 0.6.

10 PHOTOS
9 Numbers That'll Tell You How the Economy's Really Doing
See Gallery
Average Rate on 30-Year Mortgage Slips to 4.31%
The gross domestic product measures the level of economic activity within a country. To figure the number, the Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the total consumption of goods and services by private individuals and businesses; the total investment in capital for producing goods and services; the total amount spent and consumed by federal, state, and local government entities; and total net exports. It's important, because it serves as the primary gauge of whether the economy is growing or not. Most economists define a recession as two or more consecutive quarters of shrinking GDP.
The CPI measures current price levels for the goods and services that Americans buy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics collects price data on a basket of different items, ranging from necessities like food, clothing and housing to more discretionary expenses like eating out and entertainment. The resulting figure is then compared to those of previous months to determine the inflation rate, which is used in a variety of ways, including cost-of-living increases for Social Security and other government benefits.
The unemployment rate measures the percentage of workers within the total labor force who don't have a job, but who have looked for work in the past four weeks, and who are available to work. Those temporarily laid off from their jobs are also included as unemployed. Yet as critical as the figure is as a measure of how many people are out of work and therefore suffering financial hardship from a lack of a paycheck, one key item to note about the unemployment rate is that the number does not reflect workers who have stopped looking for work entirely. It's therefore important to look beyond the headline numbers to see whether the overall workforce is growing or shrinking.
The trade deficit measures the difference between the value of a nation's imported and exported goods. When exports exceed imports, a country runs a trade surplus. But in the U.S., imports have exceeded exports consistently for decades. The figure is important as a measure of U.S. competitiveness in the global market, as well as the nation's dependence on foreign countries.
Each month, the Bureau of Economic Analysis measures changes in the total amount of income that the U.S. population earns, as well as the total amount they spend on goods and services. But there's a reason we've combined them on one slide: In addition to being useful statistics separately for gauging Americans' earning power and spending activity, looking at those numbers in combination gives you a sense of how much people are saving for their future.
Consumers play a vital role in powering the overall economy, and so measures of how confident they are about the economy's prospects are important in predicting its future health. The Conference Board does a survey asking consumers to give their assessment of both current and future economic conditions, with questions about business and employment conditions as well as expected future family income.
The health of the housing market is closely tied to the overall direction of the broader economy. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, named for economists Karl Case and Robert Shiller, provides a way to measure home prices, allowing comparisons not just across time but also among different markets in cities and regions of the nation. The number is important not just to home builders and home buyers, but to the millions of people with jobs related to housing and construction.
Most economic data provides a backward-looking view of what has already happened to the economy. But the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index attempts to gauge the future. To do so, the index looks at data on employment, manufacturing, home construction, consumer sentiment, and the stock and bond markets to put together a complete picture of expected economic conditions ahead.
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION
Read Full Story

Find a New Home

Buy
Rent
Value
Powered by Zillow

From Our Partners