This week, mortgage rates took a rest on Mount Ratemore. There is no definitive reason for their break, but it remains a nice bonus for homeowners who want to buy or refinance while they can still get a rate near historic lows.
Meanwhile, in the real world, President Obama addressed the nation in his State of the Union speech this week, and he referenced the housing market and how rates remain low. (Oddly enough, he didn’t mention Mount Ratemore. Funny, that.)
“Today, our housing market is finally healing from the collapse of 2007,” he noted. “Home prices are rising at the fastest pace in six years, home purchases are up nearly 50 percent, and construction is expanding again.” And although this is great news for homeowners and soon-to-be homeowners alike, it also means mortgage rates will slowly begin to rise as well.
However, there’s one clear fact in this nationwide address: Mortgage rates are still low – for now – and the time to play the waiting game has ended. Stop the internal debate and take advantage of these incredible rates before they begin to rise.
And now for those numbers:
30-year fixed-rate mortgages hung on at 3.53% with an average of .08 points. Last year at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.87%.
15-year fixed-rate mortgages stayed at 2.77% with an average of 0.8 points. Last year, the 15-year rate averaged 2.82%.
ARMs also slipped slightly from last week. The 5-year ARM rose slightly to 2.64% with an average 0.6 points from last week’s 2.63%. And the 1-year ARM was 2.61% this week with an average 0.3 points, up from last week’s 2.53%. A year ago the 5-year ARM and the 1-year ARM averaged 2.82% and 2.84%, respectively.
And now, a word from our friend Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac:
“Mortgage rates remain near record lows and continue to support housing demand, translating into a pick-up in home prices in most markets. The median sales price of existing homes rose 10 percent between fourth quarter 2011 and 2012, the largest year-over-year gain in seven years. Among large metropolitan areas, 88 percent saw positive annual increases in the fourth quarter, compared to 81 percent in the third quarter and 75 percent in the second. The largest gains occurred in Phoenix (34 percent), Detroit (31 percent) and San Francisco (28 percent).”