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HSH.com Mortgage Rates Radar: Your first report on the mortgage market this week

Mortgage rates drift lower this week

 

Rates on the most popular types of mortgages eased a bit further this week according to HSH.com's Weekly Mortgage Rates Radar. The average rate for conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by a single basis point (0.01 percent) to 3.79 percent. Conforming 5/1 Hybrid ARM rates decreased by seven basis points, closing the Wednesday-to-Tuesday wraparound weekly survey at an average of 2.96 percent.

Mortgage rates may be volatile later in the week

"Despite the calm so far, we may be in for a bit of additional volatility for mortgage rates later in the week," says Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com. "Financial markets, like the Federal Reserve, are moving in a ‘data dependent’ mode, so stronger reports may tend to lift interest rates, with weaker reports allowing for declines. As the March employment report is due out Friday, and with a few important bits of data out before we get there, a more measurable move for rates later in the week is to be expected. However, the move’s direction will be dictated by the incoming data."

The Federal Reserve is closely monitoring trends in employment, wage growth and inflation. For the moment, these signals have indicated that the Fed can leave interest rates lower for a longer period of time, and the Fed itself expects that the process of raising rates will be a protracted one, even if they've not yet revealed when that process will begin.

Interest rates may firm in June or July

"If labor market conditions continue to tighten, this would tend to move forward the date of the Fed's first move," adds Gumbinger. "Presently, markets expect that the first change to policy may come mid-to-late summer, but a strong March jobs report, or one accompanied by signs of wages rising rapidly, could move this more toward June or July and  interest rates might firm accordingly. If not too strong, we'll hold these levels, and markets may start to look toward next month. Regardless, should any upward move occur, mortgage rates should remain fantastic, and the spring homebuying season should get underway without any disruption."

Average mortgage rates and points for conforming residential mortgages for the week ending March 31, according to HSH.com:

HSH.com Mortgage Rates Radar - Four Week Trend

Conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage

  • Average Rate:   3.79 percent
  • Average Points: 0.13

Conforming 5/1-year adjustable-rate mortgage

  • Average Rate:   2.96 percent
  • Average Points: 0.10

Average mortgage rates and points for conforming residential mortgages for the previous week ending March 24 were, according to HSH.com:

Conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage

  • Average Rate:   3.80 percent
  • Average Points: 0.19

Conforming 5/1-year adjustable-rate mortgage

  • Average Rate:   3.03 percent
  • Average Points: 0.12

Methodology

The Weekly Mortgage Rates Radar reports the average rates and points offered on conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and conforming 5/1 ARMs. The weekly mortgage rate survey covers a large sample of mortgage lenders and is conducted over a Wednesday-to-Tuesday cycle, with data released every Wednesday. HSH.com’s survey helps consumers find the best rates on home loans in changing market conditions. Unlike mortgage rate surveys that report average rates only, the Weekly Mortgage Rates Radar’s inclusion of both average rates and average points provides a more accurate view of mortgage terms currently offered by lenders.

Every week, HSH.com conducts a survey of mortgage rate data for a wide range of consumer mortgage products including ARMs, FHA-backed and jumbo mortgages, as well as home equity loans and lines of credit from hundreds of direct lenders in the U.S. For information on additional loan products, visit HSH.com.

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