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Mortgage Rate Lock Advice: Float/Lock For Week Of August 16, 2015

Dan Green
The Mortgage Reports contributor

Mortgage Rates Still In The 3s

Mortgage rates today are, once again, cheap.

After a series of weaker-than-expected economic report, including a decidedly average non-farm payroll reports for July, conventional mortgage rates have dropped below 4% and remained there.

If you missed your chance to lock ultra-low mortgage rate earlier this year, today's your second chance.

Conventional mortgage rates are in the 3s, and FHA and VA mortgage rate are even lower.

Plus, with mortgage rates down, home affordability is on the rise for active buyers and an estimated 6.5 million existing U.S. homeowners are likely eligible to refinance.

Low mortgage rates continue to define this year’s Housing Market. With mortgage rates down, today’s homeowners can afford 7% more home as compared to the start of last year.

If you could afford a $300,000 home last year, today you can afford $321,000. This even outpaces the growth in home prices, which are up less than six percent annually.

Today’s market is favorable for consumers in search of a home loan.

Verify your new rate (Aug 20th, 2019)

Mortgage Rates Averaging 3.94%

According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year conventional fixed rate mortgage rate moved higher last week, climbing 3 basis points (0.03%) to 3.94% nationwide.

It’s the first weekly jump in four weeks, ending a win-streak which saw rates drop by close to a quarter-percentage point.

Today’s mortgage rate shoppers can expect for interest rates to open the week sightly north of Freddie Mac’s 3.86% figure. Rates worsened in last week’s latter half, a change which went uncaptured by the survey which had closed by that time.

Banks are charging an average 0.6 discount points to lock today’s rates.

Note that not everyone will get access to today’s excellent pricing. The “Freddie Mac rates” come with three specific qualifiers.

First, the Freddie Mac survey is aimed at “prime borrowers” only.

A prime borrower is one who is able to verify income, who can show credit scores of 740 or higher, and who has a downpayment of twenty percent or more for a purchase. Borrowers not meeting these criteria get access to nominally higher rates.

Second, the Freddie Mac survey reports the average mortgage rate from among the 100-plus lenders which respond.

Some mortgage applicants, therefore, will be quoted rates which are higher than the Freddie Mac’s reported average of 3.94%; and, some will be quoted mortgage interest rates below the average of 3.94%.

And, third, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate survey applies to conventional mortgage rates only.

Mortgage applicants in search of FHA mortgage rates”] for an FHA loan; or VA mortgage rates for a VA loan won’t be looking to Freddie Mac loan programs. FHA loans and VA loans are backed by different government agencies from a Freddie Mac loan and, as a result, borrowers with those programs get access to different mortgage rates.

FHA mortgage rates and VA mortgage also increased slightly last week, too.

Verify your new rate (Aug 20th, 2019)

Mortgage Rates : What To Watch For This Week

This week, the U.S. economic calendar is light on data which can affect mortgage-backed securities so the focus will be on the release of the Fed Minutes from its meeting last month.

Wall Street will be watching for language which hints at exactly when the Federal Reserve may start to raise the Fed Funds Rate from its current range near zero percent.

Markets have been planning for Fed Fund Rate “liftoff” since late-2014, but the move has been repeatedly tabled by the nation’s central banker.

The Fed is waiting for labor markets to improve; for wage growth to resume; for inflation pressures to resume; for any number of conditions, really. And — maybe — the Fed is getting close to making the first increase to the Fed Funds Rate since July 2006.

Or, maybe it’s not. And this is why the Fed Minutes may be this week’s most important news.

When the Fed makes a change to the Fed Funds Rate, it will affect equity and bond markets and currency markets, both of which affect mortgage-backed securities, which are the basis for consumer mortgage rates.

The complete economic calendar for the week follows :

  • Monday : Empire State Manufacturing Survey; Housing Market Index
  • Tuesday : Housing Starts
  • Wednesday : Consumer Price Index; Fed Minutes
  • Thursday : Jobless Claims; San Francisco Fed President John Williams speaks; Existing Home Sales
  • Friday : None

Cautious rate shoppers should consider locking their mortgage rates early in the week, before the Fed Minutes release Wednesday afternoon.

What Are Today’s Mortgage Rates?

Today’s mortgage rates remain cheap and accessible. If you’ve been waiting to purchase or refinance, explore your home loan options before rates rise. Pricing  can change quickly and without notice.

Get today’s mortgage rates now. Rates are available with no social security number required to get started, and all quotes come with instant access to your live mortgage credit scores.

Verify your new rate (Aug 20th, 2019)