Interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.57 percent this week, Freddie Mac reported this morning. That's down just a hundredth of a percentage point from last week's rate, but it marks the third consecutive week of record-setting lows for the most popular type of home loan. Freddie Mac has been tracking this rate for 39 years.
How low can they go? Freddie Mac reported this morning that average rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage sank to 4.58 percent, blowing past last week's record low of 4.69 percent by 11 basis points. Meanwhile, news just out from the National Association of Realtors is hardly encouraging. Pending home sales, based on homes going under contract in May, fell 30 percent from April and were 15.9 percent below a year ago.
Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages hit a new low, down to 4.69 percent, Freddie Mac announced Thursday. What's next?
Buyers racing to sign home-purchase contracts in time to qualify for a federal tax credit pushed home sales up for the third month in a row. Pending home sales, based on contracts signed in April, are up 6 percent from March, the National Association of Realtors reports. But the Realtors are warning that some buyers may have trouble closing their deals by the June 30 deadline for qualifying for a tax credit of up to $8,000.
Since they don't know what did cause the bubble, but they are convinced that low interest rates and loose lending don't bear much of the blame, they conclude that there's little reason to worry about rising mortgage interest rates. And they feel more secure suggesting that government policy makers back away from popular programs aimed at reducing the cost of homeownership.
Sales volume and prices both rose in the first three months of this year in the Washington-area market, they report. Sales volume was up 9.2 percent from a year earlier; the average price, at $357,983, was up 4.9 percent.