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Mortgage Rates Slide Back to the Lowest Levels of 2019

Doug Whiteman
Mortgage Rates Slide Back to the Lowest Levels of 2019

Mortgage rates rose throughout April, but this month they've been moving consistently in the opposite direction -- all the way back down to the lowest levels of 2019.

With the Federal Reserve signaling it's not likely to raise interest rates for the foreseeable future, mortgage rates could remain cheap for a while. But there are signs that buyers may not be paying attention.

If you see a rate you like, grab it! Consider whether it would be smart to lock in a low rate now.

This week's numbers

The average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages has inched down to 4.06%, from 4.07% last week, says Freddie Mac, the giant mortgage company.

The current average matches the low for this year that was reached in late March. The loans in the survey come with an average 0.5 point.

Homebuyers can enjoy real savings compared to last year at this time, when the benchmark rate was more than a half-point higher — averaging 4.66%.

But it appears that some borrowers aren't getting the message. While overall mortgage applications rose 2.4% last week, the activity around loans to buy homes was down 2%, the Mortgage Bankers Association says.

Refinance applications jumped 8%.

Check out today's best mortgage rates where you live.

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Why rates are doing what they're doing

Steve Heap / Shutterstock
Low mortgage rates are motivating buyers of high-end homes, Freddie Mac says.

"Mortgage rates fell for the fourth consecutive week and continued the medium-term trend of lower rates since late 2018," says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac's chief economist.

The new numbers come a day after the Federal Reserve released notes from its latest meeting that indicated the Fed is likely to keep its hands off interest rates "for some time."

Freddie Mac has predicted this will be a year of low mortgage rates. The firmforecast says 30-year home loans will average 4.3% throughout 2019, down from an average 4.6% in 2018.

You're really in luck if you've got an expensive home you want to sell this year, Khater says.

"The drop in mortgage rates is causing purchase demand to rise, and the mix of demand is skewing to the higher end as more affluent consumers are typically more responsive to declines in rates," he says.

Translation: Wealthy shoppers tend to be the biggest fans of falling mortgage rates.

If you're thinking about buying a home this year, calculate what your monthly mortgage payment would be.

This week's other mortgage rates

Average rates on 15-year mortgages, which were at 3.53% last week, have dipped to 3.51% — a new low for 2019. A year ago, rates on those shorter-term home loans were averaging 4.15%, Freddie Mac says.

Meanwhile, 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages — featuring rates that hold steady for five years and then can "adjust" up (or down) each year — have moved higher. They're being offered at initial rates averaging 3.68%, up from 3.66% last week.

At this time last year, those ARMs were being offered at an average initial rate of 3.87%.

When you apply for a mortgage, you'll need to have some down payment money ready. Find a savings account at a great rate to help you gather that cash together.