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News Every Day |

Mortgage rates fall back below 3%

After last week's slight increase, mortgage rates retreated, weighed down by waning consumer confidence and rising housing prices.

According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average declined to 2.95% with an average 0.7 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1% of the loan amount. They are in addition to the interest rate.) It was 3% a week ago and 3.15% a year ago. The 30-year fixed average has hovered below 3% for five of the past six weeks.

Freddie Mac, the federally chartered mortgage investor, aggregates rates from around 80 lenders across the country to come up with weekly national averages. It uses rates for high-quality borrowers with strong credit scores and large down payments. Because of the criteria, these rates are not available to every borrower.

The survey is based on home purchase mortgages, which means rates for refinances may be higher. The price adjustment for refinance transactions that went into effect in December is adding to the cost. The adjustment, which applies to all Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac refinances, is 0.5% of the loan amount. That works out to $1,500 on a $300,000 loan.

The 15-year fixed-rate average slipped to 2.27% with an average 0.6 point. It was 2.29% a week ago and 2.62% a year ago. The five-year adjustable rate average continued to hold steady, unchanged for the second week in a row at 2.59% with an average 0.2 point. It was 3.13% a year ago.

"When economic data sends conflicting signals, mortgage rates freeze in place, and that's what we saw in the past week," said Holden Lewis, home and mortgage specialist at NerdWallet. "Rates edged downward, but by just a little bit, as bond traders await fresh data on inflation, employment, commodity prices, the Federal Reserve's plans, and the fate of an infrastructure package in...





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