Do you wake up every morning and feverishly check Freddie Mac’s website around 10:00 a.m. ET to see what happens with the nationwide average for mortgage rates like I do? I was asking some team members about that, and they’re convinced that I’m the only one in the country that does it – but I say nay. You could just head over here every Thursday to see my world-renowned analysis of Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
When we last left our mortgage rates, they were beginning their climb back up Mount Ratemore, the mountain formally known as Rate Mountain. They had stopped to take a break the week prior, presumably to stock up on supplies, get reacquainted with the change in altitude, figure out a game plan – you know, all the things one does when you’re going to be taking a long trek up a steep hill.
The mortgage rates seem to have acquired the services of a Sherpa or two along the way because this week, they’ve made quite a bit of headway. (For those not in the know, Sherpas are an ethnic group from Nepal. These nomadic people are highly respected for their mountaineering skills and physical prowess. To call anyone who acts as a guide or help for any type of mountaineering expedition a “Sherpa” is wrong. If you hired a really good climber from Tasmania as a guide, you could not call them a Sherpa. Unless they were, in fact, born from Sherpa ancestry.)
Anyway, this week, mortgage rates have started their slow and steady climb, and according to all reports, they show no sign of stopping. But the good news is, in terms of relative scale from the peak to the base, the rates are still way down near the bottom. They’re near record lows. There’s still plenty of opportunity to refinance or buy a home and save a bundle. Because if you keep waiting, you’re going to miss out.
So, let’s take a look where those numbers are, shall we?
30-year fixed-rate mortgages climbed to 3.53% with an average of .07 points. Last week they averaged 3.42%. Last year at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.87%.
15-year fixed-rate mortgages also rose to 2.81% with an average of 0.7 points, up from last week when it averaged 2.71%. Last year, the 15-year rate averaged 3.14%.
ARMs held on to their standings from last week. The 5-year ARM remained steady at 2.70% with an average 0.6 points. And the 1-year ARM was 2.59% this week with an average 0.5 points. A year ago the 5-year ARM and the 1-year ARM averaged 2.80% and 2.76%, respectively.
And now, a word from our friend Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac:
“Mortgage rates continued to trend upwards this week amid a growing economy led in part by the recovering housing market. For instance, new home sales totaled 367,000 in 2012, the most in three years and reflected the first annual increase in seven years. Pending home sales in 2012 averaged its highest reading since 2006. And the S&P/Case-Shiller® 20-city composite house price index rose 5.5 percent over the 12-months ending in November 2012, the largest annual growth since August 2006. All of these factors helped residential fixed investment to add nearly 0.4 percentage points to real GDP growth in the fourth quarter alone.”