Good news for prospective homebuyers, bad news for those looking for signs of economic life in housing: Mortgage rates hit new record lows last week, thanks to underwhelming growth and economic concerns.
We've been following the weekly rates as the housing bulls and bears continue to declare bottoms and not-bottoms. Freddie Mac said Thursday the 30-year mortgage rate fell for a second week, to 3.84%, down from its previous all-time record low of 3.87% on February 9. The 15-year fixed average also fell to a new all-time low of 3.11%.
The 30-year rate hit a recent high of 4.08% in March but has been unable to top 4% since. Last year at this time, it averaged 4.71%.
"Signs of slowing economic growth and inflation remaining subdued allowed yields on Treasury bonds to ease somewhat and brought most mortgage rates to new all-time record lows this week," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac, noting the disappointing GDP figures that came out last Friday.
The Mortgage Bankers Association's Market Composite Index, an indication of mortgage application volume, barely budged last week, rising 0.1% after falling sharply by 3.8% the week prior.
The economic news will continue with the most anticipated data of the month, the jobless report for April, due out on Friday. As we mentioned Wednesday, unemployment rates were lower in 342 of 372 metropolitan areas in March of this year vs. 2011, according to a BLS report. But it varies considerably by area, with 13 areas suffering an unemployment rate of least 15%, and 17 areas registering rates of less than 5%. That's bound to affect housing as well.
What does the housing situation look like near you?