Mortgage Rates Updates 2013

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On this page we have collected all of our written mortgage rates updates from 2013.

Mortgage Rates 2013


Rates Drop on Low Inflation Report

Submitted on March 21, 2013

Fixed-rate mortgages headed back down this week, reversing last week's spike that sent rates to their highest levels since late summer.

Average interest rates on conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, the industry standard, dropped to 3.54 percent this week, down from 3.63 previously, according to today's weekly Freddie Mac rate survey. Average rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, popular among those who are refinancing, fell to an average of 2.72 percent, down from 2.79 percent last week

Initial interest rates on 5-year Treasury indexed adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) were unchanged at 2.61 percent.

Low inflation keeping rates down

Frank Northaft, Freddie Mac chief economist, said subdued inflation has been keeping mortgage rates in check, noting that increases in the consumer price index has been at or below an annual rate of 2 percent for the past four months. The Federal Reserve also revised its inflation forecast this week, dropping the upper end of the predicted range to 2.8 percent, down from 3.0 percent in December. The Fed continues to expect inflation will average at least 2.3 percent for 2013, same as before.

Freddie Mac's March outlook, released Wednesday, forecasts that 30-year fixed mortgage rates will remain below 4 percent for the remainder of the year.

Further gains expected in housing

The forecast calls for continued improvement in the housing market through the rest of the year, with home sales up 8-10 percent over their 2012 levels, with the strongest spring homebuying season since 2007.

New home construction is predicted to reach 950,000 housing starts, up from 780,000 last year. On the down side, Freddie Mac is predicting that unemployment will remain flat at 7.8 percent owing to reduced federal spending due to the sequestration, which the company's analysts say will keep unemployment about 0.25 percent higher than it would have been without the sequester.


Fewer Loans Delinquent, Underwater

Submitted on May 6, 2013

Fewer homeowners are falling into financial difficulty with their mortgages, with the rate of new problem mortgages falling below 1 percent of all loans for the first time since 2007, according to figures released today by mortgage data firm Lender Processing Services (LPS).

New seriously delinquent loans, those that were current six months ago, were at a rate of 0.84 percent in March, according to LPS, a rate the company describes as approaching pre-crash norms of slightly over half a percent.

The total number of delinquent mortgages, not counting those in foreclosure, fell below 5 million in March for the first time since 2008, according to the company's monthly mortgage report. Even so, that figure remains roughly double that of pre-crash norms.

For the month, newly begun foreclosures were down 8.2 percent from February's levels. Foreclosure starts have been trending downward. Overall, 3.37 percent of all mortgaged homes were in some stage of foreclosure in March, compared to 4.19 percent one year ago.

Fewer underwater as home values rise

One of the most striking trends illustrated by the March report was the way that rising home prices have reduced negative equity (that is, the number of homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages, owing more than the property is worth) over the past year. Currently, some 9 million homeowners, representing 17.9 percent of all mortgaged residences, are underwater on their home loans, down from 15.2 million in January 2012, representing a 31 percent decline.

Equity levels were found to strongly correspond to mortgage default rates. According to LPS figures, only 0.6 percent of homeowners with positive equity experienced new serious delinquencies (90+ days past due) in the March survey; those barely underwater became new problem loans at a rate of 1.6 percent, while those whose mortgage balance exceeded their home value by 150 percent or more experienced new seriously delinquencies at a rate of 4.0 percent.


Mortgage Rates Climb for Second Week

Submitted on May 16, 2013

Mortgage rates are up for a second straight week, with both 30- and 15-year fixed-rate loans posting significant increases following indications of stronger consumer spending.

Average interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 3.51 percent in this week's Freddie Mac rate survey, up from 3.42 percent previously, while the average on 15-year fixed-rate loans rose to 2.69 percent, up from 2.61 percent last week.

Initial interest rates on adjustable-rate mortgages showed a smaller increase, with the average on 5-year Treasury-indexed ARMs up to 2.62 percent, compared to 2.58 percent last week.

Follow retail sales, debt trends

Rates were up in the wake of several positive economic developments, including much-stronger than expected figures for consumer spending from the Census Bureau. Advanced retail sales were up 0.1 percent in April, confounding market forecasts of a 0.3 percent decline. Excluding sales of gasoline and other automotive-related items, retail sales had their second consecutive monthly increase of 0.5 percent.

Other encouraging economic signs came from the New York Federal Reserve, which reported that U.S. household debt fell by $110 billion in the first quarter of the year, while new figures from the Mortgage Bankers Association indicate that the number of homeowners with seriously delinquent mortgages (90 days past due) has fallen to 3.0 million, down from a peak of 5.1 million in late 2009.


Rising Rates Put Chill On Refinancing

Submitted on May 22, 2013

Refinance demand is down sharply over the past two weeks, after mortgage rates headed back up following their latest flirtation with all-time lows.

Applications to refinance existing mortgages declined a seasonally adjusted 12 percent last week, according to figures released today by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and are down by nearly 19 percent over the past two weeks.

The decrease comes as average interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages have risen by nearly one-fifth of a percentage point during the same period, moving off near-record lows. Both rates and refinance activity are back to around the same level they were in March, before the latest slide in rates triggered a flurry of refinancing.

Applications for mortgages to purchase a home, which are less sensitive to swings in interest rates given the other factors involved in buying a home, were down by 4 percent last week, but are still running 10 percent ahead of the same time last year.

Refinancing still accounted for about three-quarters of all mortgage applications last week, with HARP refinances making up just under one-third of all refinance applications.

Rates up across the board

Last week, average interest rates on standard 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.78 percent, up from 3.67 percent the week before and 3.60 percent previously, for mortgages with a loan-to-value ratio of 80 percent or better. For comparable 15-year fixed-rate loans, average rates rose to 2.96 percent last week, up from 2.88 percent previously.

The average rate on comparable 30-year FHA mortgages rose to 3.53 percent, up from 3.43 percent the week before, although it should be noted that relatively few FHA loans are made with an 80 percent LTV. Higher rates should be expected on FHA loans with the minimum 3.5 percent down payment.

For 30-year fixed rate jumbo loans, those with balances exceeding $417,500, average rates increased to 3.93 percent, up from 3.88 percent the week before. Meanwhile, initial rates on 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) increased to an average of 2.60 percent last week, up from 2.55 percent.


Rates Finally Ease, Then Surge Again

Submitted on June 20, 2013

Fixed mortgage rates declined this week for the first time in a month and a half, but it may have been only a temporary reprieve.

Rates were down across the board in today's weekly survey by Freddie Mac, but early indications suggest a sharp jump following the release of the latest policy statement from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday.

Average rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 3.93 percent this week, down from 3.98 percent the week before, based on mortgages with an 80-percent loan-to-value ratio with an average of 0.8 discount points. The average on 15-year fixed-rate loans dropped to 3.04 percent with 0.7 discount points, down from 3.10 last week.

Spike follows Fed statements

That marked the first time either rate had dropped since the first week of May, when rates began climbing sharply off their all-time lows. However, some reports this morning suggest that fixed rates jumped by as much as one-tenth of a percent following yesterday's statements from the Fed and follow-up remarks by Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Adjustable-rate mortgages held steady this week, with average initial rates on 5-year Treasury-indexed ARMs unchanged at 2.79 percent with an average of 0.5 discount points.

Yesterday's Fed statement indicated growing confidence in the economy but also expressed the Fed's intention to maintain its economic stimulus efforts for the time being. A statement later that afternoon by Bernanke suggested the Fed might begin to rein in those efforts, which involve purchasing Treasury bonds to promote low interest rates, in mid-2014.

Mortgage rates have been rising sharply since the last meeting of the Federal Reserve board six weeks ago, when the Fed signaled it might begin to scale back its purchases of Treasury bonds earlier than anticipated.


Rates Steady for Second Week

Submitted on August 15, 2013

Mortgage rates have held steady for a second consecutive week, with only minor changes in the major loan types, according to today's weekly rate survey from Freddie Mac.

Average interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages were unchanged at 4.40, while the average on 15-year fixed-rate loans edged up to 3.44 percent, up from 3.43 last week. Neither rate has moved more than a single basis point over the past two weeks.

Meanwhile, the average initial rate on 5-year Treasury indexed adjustable rate mortgages rose to 3.23 percent, up from 3.19 percent last week. All rates are based on loans with an 80 percent loan-to-value ratio.

Will Fed signal further increases?

The current stability in mortgage rates could be the calm before the storm, as many economists expect the Federal Reserve to begin scaling back its purchases of Treasury bonds next month, a program that has kept interest rates low over the past four years.

"Fixed mortgage rates have been bouncing around over the past few weeks on market speculation that the Fed will taper some of its monetary stimulus," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist. "In fact, 65 percent of economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the Fed to reduce the amount of bond purchases at its September 17th and 18th monetary policy committee meetings."

He noted that 30-year rates have already increased 1.1 percent from their record low last November, meaning an extra $125 a month in interest payments on a $200,000 mortgage. Most of that increase came during an abrupt run-up in May.

Homebuilders see things looking up

Indications that higher mortgage rates may be on the way come amid increasing signs of a strengthening housing market. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) announced today that its index of builder confidence rose three points in August, to its highest level in eight years. The August index reached a level of 59 on a 100-point scale, in which a score of 50 indicates builders are evenly divided between seeing conditions as favorable or poor.

Builders felt most confident about sales expectations over the next six months, gauging that component of the index at 68, while their assessment of current sales conditions was scored a 62. Their assessment of potential buyer traffic was comparatively weak, however, being scored at only 45.


Rates Ease a Bit on Housing Reports

Submitted on August 29, 2013

Mortgage rates eased somewhat this past week, as signs the housing recovery may be slowing down quieted speculation that the Federal Reserve would start to cut back its purchases of Treasury bonds next month.

Average interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages declined to 4.51 percent in the weekly Freddie Mac rate survey, down from 4.58 percent last week, while the average on 15-year fixed-rate loans dropped to 3.54 percent, down from 3.60 percent previously.

Meanwhile, adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) were headed the other way, with average initial rates on 5-year Treasury indexed ARMs rising to 3.24 percent, up from 3.21 percent previously.

All rates are based on mortgages with an 80 percent loan-to-value ratio; fixed-rate mortgages include an average of 0.7 points in fees and discounts, while the ARM includes 0.5 points.

All eyes on the Fed

Speculation has been growing that in September the Federal Reserve will begin scaling back its program of Treasury bond purchases, which has played a major role in keeping interest rates low. However, a sharp drop in new home sales last month, coupled with early indications that existing home sales may be softening as well, dampened those expectations somewhat.

"The Fed is monitoring the housing market closely after the run up in mortgage rates over the past few months," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist. "The 13.4 percent drop in new home sales in July (as reported by the Census Bureau) led financial markets to speculate whether the Fed might delay reducing its bond purchases and allowed long-term bond yields and fixed mortgage rates to decline over the week."

In addition to the decline in new home sales, the National Association of Realtors reported this week pending home sales (signed contracts for home purchases) were down 1.6 percent in July, apparently in response to rising mortgage rates.

Mortgage Rates Fall Again on Shutdown

Submitted on October 03, 2013

Fixed mortgage rates have fallen for the third week in a row, with the government shutdown and declining consumer confidence continuing the momentum begun by the Fed's decision to hold off on reducing its economic stimulus.

Average rates on 30-year fixed-rate loans dropped to 4.22 percent this week, down from 4.32 percent last week, according to the today's weekly Freddie Mac rate survey. That's down more than one-third of a percent from the 4.57 percent level where the rate stood three weeks ago, just before the Fed announced its decision.

The average on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages is also down substantially, dropping to 3.29 percent, down from 3.37 percent last week. That rate is also down about one-third of a percent over the past three weeks, compared to an average of 3.59 percent the week of Sept. 12.

Initial rates on adjustable-rate mortgages have also been declining, but more modestly. The initial rate on Treasury indexed 5-year ARMs dropped to 3.03 percent this week, down from 3.05 percent last week and 3.22 percent prior to the Fed announcement.

Shutdown, consumer confidence called factors

With the onset of the federal government shutdown and declining consumer confidence, fixed mortgage rates fell for the third consecutive week," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist.

He noted that consumer sentiment, as measured by the monthly University of Michigan survey, fell in September for the second month in a row, reaching its lowest reading since last spring.

He also noted that a recent Bloomberg survey of economists found they predicted that a one-week partial shutdown of the federal government would reduce fourth-quarter GDP by 0.1 percentage points. That same survey found an average prediction of a 0.5 percent reduction in GDP if the shutdown lasts a full month.

A slowing recovery would likely reduce upward pressure on mortgage rates, though most experts are doubtful they would drop to anything approaching their previous levels. On the other hand, a resolution to the standoff in Washington over the debt limit that led to the shutdown might very likely be followed by at least a modest jump in rates.


Rates Drop Following Shutdown Deal

Submitted on October 18, 2013

Mortgage rates are down sharply following the agreement to end the federal government shutdown, easing fears that a default could damage the nation's credit rating.

Various reports show fixed mortgage rates down by one to two tenths of a percentage point from their average levels of late Wednesday, just before the agreement was reached that night.

As of Friday afternoon, the average for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages was at 4.76 percent on the broad-based MortgageLoan.com National Rates chart, which takes into account loans across a broad range of credit scores and equity/down payment levels. That's down 0.15 percent from Wednesday's mark of 4.91 percent.

The national average on 15-year fixed rate mortgages is down 0.19 percentage points over the same period, according to the MortgageLoan.com chart, dropping to 3.84 percent Friday afternoon, down from 4.03 percent on Wednesday.

Better rates were available for borrowers with excellent credit, high equity levels or who are willing to pay points. Best-execution rates as reported Friday by Mortgage News Daily's rate survey were 4.29 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, and 3.41 percent for 15-year loans.

Default fears drove rate increases

Rates began to inch up during the second week of the shutdown, which began Oct. 1, driven by fears that a government default could drive up lending costs overall. Mortgage rates and other consumer and commercial lending are tied to the rates paid on U.S. Treasury bonds, which are traditionally seen as an ultra-safe investment. A default would diminish that reputation, meaning investors would demand higher rates of return on Treasury bonds, which would drive up lending rates in return.

The House voted Wednesday night to approve a Senate bill raising the debt limit, which was signed by President Obama immediately afterward. However, the bill only funds the government through Jan. 15 and extends its ability to pay its bills through Feb. 7, so we could go through the whole thing again in a few months unless Congress can agree on a more permanent solution first.


Mortgage Rates Drop to 4-Month Low

Submitted on October 24, 2013

Fixed mortgage rates dropped to their lowest levels in four months this week, amid growing assumptions that the Federal Reserve will not scale back its bond purchase program any time before the end of the year.

The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped to 4.13 percent in the weekly Freddie Mac rate survey, a sharp decline from last week's average of 4.28 percent. Meanwhile, the average on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 3.24 percent, down from 3.33 percent last week.

Both figures are the lowest those rates have been since late June.

The average initial rate on 5-year Treasury indexed adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) also fell, to 3.00 percent, down from 3.07 percent last week. That's also the lowest that rate has been since the first week of summer.

Rates fall as shutdown ends

The drag on the economy produced by the temporary government shutdown, along with a weak unemployment report, led markets to conclude the Fed will not reduce its efforts to stimulate the economy in the near term, according to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist.

The resolution of the standoff over raising the federal debt limit, at least temporarily, also calmed fears that the government might default on its debt payments, an event that would likely send interest rates of all types sharply upward.

The recent nomination of Janet Yellen, vice chair of the Fed, to replace Ben Bernancke as Fed chair in January, has also diminished expectations the Fed will significantly reduce its bond purchases any time soon. Yellen is seen as favoring continued economic stimulus, which the bond purchases provide by supporting low interest rates, until the employment picture improves significantly.


Will Rates Crack 4 Percent Again?

Submitted on October 31, 2013

Mortgage rates appear to have cooled off slightly today in the wake of Federal Reserve Chair Ben Benanke's reassurances that the Fed will not back off its efforts to boost the economy anytime soon.

Yields on 10-year Treasury bonds, which are commonly linked to long-term mortgage rates, showed their biggest one-week drop in over a year, following Bernanke's remarks late yesterday. Average rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages responded by dropping more than a tenth of a percent shortly after the start of business today, according to figures from Zillow, and have held steady at 4.37 percent since.

In a speech late Wednesday, Bernanke said the economy will continue to require ''a highly accommodative monetary policy for the foreseeable future.'' Those remarks appear designed to dampen recent fears that the Fed will soon begin to scale back those efforts, which triggered the sharp increases in mortgage rates over the past two months.

Encouraged by Bernanke's remarks, the stock market rose to new heights today, with both the Dow Jones and S&P 500 averages reaching new highs, on top of previous increases earlier in the week.

Which way now?

It's not clear if today's drop in mortgage rates will be anything more than a temporary respite from the sharp run-up in rates that has been underway since May. If investors are confident the Fed will continue to purchase Treasury bonds at its current pace for the foreseeable future, it's possible that mortgage rates will reverse some of their recent gains. However, continued improvement in the economy would tend to put further upward pressure on rates.

Rates showed a sharp spike this week prior to Bernanke's remarks, as many expected he would signal a reduction in the Treasury bond purchases that have been the basis of the Fed's efforts to stimulate the economy by promoting low interest rates.

According to this morning's weekly rate report from Freddie Mac, based on data collected prior to Bernanke's comments yesterday, average rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages jumped more than two-tenths of a percent this past week, rising to 4.51 percent, up from 4.29 percent in last week's report.

The average on 15-year mortgages rose to 3.53 percent this week, up from 3.39 percent the week before. All rates are for mortgages with an 80-percent loan-to-value ratio, for the week ending on Wednesday.


Rates Ease a Bit on Housing Reports

Mortgage rates eased somewhat this past week, as signs the housing recovery may be slowing down quieted speculation that the Federal Reserve would start to cut back its purchases of Treasury bonds next month.

Average interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages declined to 4.51 percent in the weekly Freddie Mac rate survey, down from 4.58 percent last week, while the average on 15-year fixed-rate loans dropped to 3.54 percent, down from 3.60 percent previously.

Meanwhile, adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) were headed the other way, with average initial rates on 5-year Treasury indexed ARMs rising to 3.24 percent, up from 3.21 percent previously.

All rates are based on mortgages with an 80 percent loan-to-value ratio; fixed-rate mortgages include an average of 0.7 points in fees and discounts, while the ARM includes 0.5 points.

All eyes on the Fed

Speculation has been growing that in September the Federal Reserve will begin scaling back its program of Treasury bond purchases, which has played a major role in keeping interest rates low. However, a sharp drop in new home sales last month, coupled with early indications that existing home sales may be softening as well, dampened those expectations somewhat.

"The Fed is monitoring the housing market closely after the run up in mortgage rates over the past few months," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist. "The 13.4 percent drop in new home sales in July (as reported by the Census Bureau) led financial markets to speculate whether the Fed might delay reducing its bond purchases and allowed long-term bond yields and fixed mortgage rates to decline over the week."

In addition to the decline in new home sales, the National Association of Realtors reported this week pending home sales (signed contracts for home purchases) were down 1.6 percent in July, apparently in response to rising mortgage rates.

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National Rates

Loan Type Today +/-
30 yr fixed 3.72
15 yr fixed 3.04
5/1 ARM 3.05

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