Fixed-rate mortgages stayed mostly flat last week (2/11 – 2/15), remaining near their record lows and continuing to support housing demand and translating into a pick-up in home prices in most markets, according to Freddie Mac.
Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Feb. 14:
- 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.53 percent, with an average 0.8 point, holding the same average as last week. A year ago, 30-year rates averaged 3.87 percent.
- 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.77 percent, with an average 0.8 point, also holding the same as last week. Last year at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.16 percent.
- 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage: averaged 2.64 percent, with an average 0.6 point, rising slightly from last week’s 2.63 percent average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.82 percent.
- 1-year ARMs: averaged 2.61 percent, with an average 0.3 point, rising from last week’s 2.53 percent average. A year ago at this time, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.84 percent.
Freddie Mac recently released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing fixed mortgage rates moving higher from the previous week. The 30-year fixed averaged 3.42 percent, its highest reading since September 29, 2012. Regardless, fixed-mortgage rates still remain highly affordable near their all-time record lows, and should continue to aid in the ongoing housing recovery.
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.42 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending January 24, 2013, up from last week when it averaged 3.38 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.98 percent.
Additionally, the 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.71 percent with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.66 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.24 percent. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.67 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, the same as last week. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.85 percent.
The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.57 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, the same as last week. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.74 percent.
Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage.
For the third consecutive week, mortgage applications rose, even as mortgage rates inched up slightly, the Mortgage Bankers Association reports.
The bulk of the increase in applications this week came from a 7.7 percent rise in applications from refinancings.
Applications for home purchases, viewed as a leading indicator for future home sales, rose 2.5 percent.
Overall, the mortgage application index — which includes both refinancings and loans for purchase — increased 7 percent in the week ending Jan. 18, the MBA reports.
Meanwhile, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.62 percent last week, an increase of 1 basis point over the prior week, the MBA reports.
Economists and housing experts have long been touting how difficult it is to get approved for a mortgage nowadays, as banks have tightened up their underwriting standards.
So what is the average approved applicant coming to the table with?
Ellie Mae recently released data showing what it took to get a mortgage in 2012. Sixty-two percent of applicants last year were for refinancing and 38 percent were for loans to purchase a home. Applicants, on average, received an interest rate of 3.90 percent.
Among Ellie Mae’s findings:
- Average time to close on the loan: 48 days
- Average time to close on the refinance loan: 57 days
- Type of Mortgage: Refiance 62% vs Purchase 38%
- Type of Loans: 30-Yr Fixed 79%, 15-Yr Fixed 18%, ARMS 3%
- Average down payment: 21 %
- Average credit score: 748
- Debt to Income ratio: house payment averaged 23 % and total debt 34 %
Believe or not, there is about 37 percent of 200 million Americans have credit scores of 748 or higher.
After jumping through all the hoops, you finally have gotten approved for a mortgage and now you’re just waiting to make it to the closing table. Make sure you or your spouse don’t throw your loan approval into jeopardy by making one of these common mistakes:
- Making a big purchase: Never make major purchases, like buying a new car, a flat screen or furniture, until after you close on the home. Big purchases could change your debt-to-income ratio that the lender used to approve the home loan and could throw the approval into jeopardy.
- Opening new credit: It is not the time to open up any new credit cards, even if you plan to purchase something with 24 month zero interest and zero payment. It is a financed purchase so it is actually a credit card purchase. The purchase amount rolls into your debt right there and it is very much likely to jeopardize your loan approval.
- Missing any payments: You really need to pay extra vigilant about paying all your bills on time, even if you’re disputing one.
- Cashing out: Avoid any transfers of large sums of money between your bank accounts or making any undocumented deposits — both of which could send up “red flags” to your lender.
So, do not celebrate it too early. Wait until the escrow is closed, the title is recorded and your agent has released the keys of your new home to you.
Mortgage rates were up slightly this week following an upbeat employment report showing that the economy added 155,000 jobs in December, 2012.
At 7.8 percent, the unemployment rate is now at its lowest point since December 2008. If unemployment continues to drop, the Federal Reserve is expected to scale back or end measures aimed at keeping long-term interest rates low.
Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.4 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending Jan. 10, up from 3.34 percent last week but down from 3.89 percent a year ago. Rates on 30-year fixed-rate loans hit a low in Freddie Mac records dating to 1971 of 3.31 percent during the week ending Nov. 21, 2012.
For 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, rates averaged 2.66 percent with an average 0.7 point, up from 2.64 percent last week but down from 3.16 percent a year ago. Rates on 15-year fixed-rate loans hit a low in Freddie Mac records dating to 1991 of 2.63 percent during the week ending Nov. 21, 2012.
To keep mortgage rates low, the Federal Reserve is buying $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac each month. The Fed has said the open-ended program, which also includes $45 billion in monthly purchases of long-term Treasurys, will continue as long as the outlook for the labor market does not “improve substantially.”
The Fed intends to keep short-term interest rates at or near zero percent for as long as unemployment is above 6.5 percent and its projections show inflation remaining in check.
Due to the low rates, refi applications have been piled up and it takes average of 90 days for most lenders to process the refi applications. If you plan to refi while the rates are still low, we would recommend to talk to your lender today and to start the process sooner the better.