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Mortgage Rates Stay Flat for Another Week

Rudro Chakrabarti
Mortgage Rates Stay Flat for Another Week

Though mortgage rates jumped in September, they've been down from where they were a year ago. And that hasn't changed this week.

Rates are flat — at levels that are still making borrowers happy.

This week's numbers

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages in the U.S. have increased only slightly this week. As of Thursday Oct. 3, the average for a 30-year fixed-rate home loan was 3.65%, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac. That's up from 3.64% a week earlier.

The current average is above the low for this year, which was 3.49% in early September.

Homebuyers can enjoy incredible savings compared to this time last year, when 30-year mortgages were averaging 4.71%.

It appears borrowers are starting to get the message. Mortgage applications increased 8.1% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) latest weekly survey.

Homeowners also have been taking advantgage of low mortgage rates, by refinancing. According to MBA, the refinance share of mortgage activity has increased to 58% of total applications, from 54.9% the previous week.

Take a look at today's best mortgage rates in your area.

Rates on the decline

The 30-year fixed rate mortgage average in the United States over the last 12 months has been 4.20%, which is 0.55% higher than the 3.65% average over the last four weeks.

These rates and Zillow’s quarterly Affordability Indices typically run countercyclical, so these low mortgage rates suggest that competition and affordability fall as the market heats up.

Although housing affordability may be declining, Freddie Mac expects rates to stay low for the remainder of 2019.

Why rates are doing what they're doing

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Freddie Mac has predicted this will be a year of low mortgage rates.

“While mortgage rates generally held steady this week, overall mortgage demand remained very strong, rising over 50% from a year ago thanks to increases in both refinance and purchase mortgage applications,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac's chief economist.

Freddie Mac has predicted this will be a year of low mortgage rates. The company 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 3.16% last week, have decreased slightly to 3.14% — below the 2019 average.

Shorter-term home loans are a popular choice among homeowners who refinance. A year ago, rates on 15-year mortgages 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 — are unchanged from last week, averaging 3.38%.

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