Mortgage Apps Decline: Mortgage Rates Ease

Results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® by Freddie Mac, showed an average 30-year fixed mortgage rate declining slightly leading up into this Thanksgiving holiday. The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage hasn't budged above 4 percent since the week of July 23rd, which has helped affordability for prospective homebuyers in wake of increased home prices.

This behavior is the result of low levels of inventory in many markets. Mortgage applications however have been a bit of a mixed bag in the later part of November. The holidays have already put a split in market data as application activity was reported down by nearly 3.2 percent. This data includes adjustment for that week's Veterans' Day holiday. The Refinance share of all mortgage applications increased very slightly, nearly .01 percent. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index dipped 1 percent from the previous week but rose 5 percent on an unadjusted basis. An interesting time to say the least, but leaves opportunity for seasonal gains before the new year.

(data according to the The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Market Composite Index.)

The Result of a Positive Jobs Report

Friday’s favorable job report is a positive, albeit scary lead into potentially higher mortgage rates. The Federal Reserve could very well raise interest rates sooner than later. While we’ll have to wait until December 15th & 16th, it’s important to move now if you’re at all hesitant about locking in the best rate possible.

With the change incoming, there’s a list of fundamental questions consumers will begin to ask their Loan Officer, like: why do interest rates matter and does that mean for the typical family purchasing a home? While interest rates rise, responsible buyers will most likely still enjoy the same level of access to low rates as well as loan programs. Banks, as it often happens, will likely demand higher interest payments from lesser qualified borrowers, but still approach the market aggressively. 

"From a consumer standpoint, even after a potential rate hike, rates will remain at historically low levels. Borrowers need to realize that mortgage rates moving from the 3s to 4s is not the end of the world, and that the affordability index remains very high." said Louis Navellier, chairman of money management firm Navellier & Associates in Reno. 

The question we should all be asking is: should rates rise, who will the clear winners be? Home sellers for one. “Though it's a bit counterintuitive, higher interest rates could actually be good for home sales at the beginning of any period of rate increases. "It may cause a flurry of activity as buyers look to get in a new home before future rate hikes hit," said Whitney Fite, President of Angel Oak Home Loans in Atlanta.” Shoppers with good credit are second. “As long as you have a good credit history, you should still expect to see 0% APR promotional deals at your local car dealership or furniture store, said Greg McBride of Bankrate. The terms may vary slightly over time, for instance moving to 0.5% instead of 0% flat or with financing for 12 months instead of 18 months, he adds. But "those with good credit or who shop around, will always get attractive promotional offers," McBride said.”