House prices rise for 4th straight month as mortgage rates fluctuate today

Sandy Smith's picture

It's too early to call it a recovery, but the fourth consecutive month of price rises on the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices is cause for minor celebration. Meanwhile, today's mortgage rates remain appealingly low.

Overall, home prices in the 20 metropolitan areas tracked by the S&P/Case-Shiller Indices rose 0.9% in July from the previous month, and 17 of the 20 cities also posted month-to-month gains, with Denver flat and Las Vegas and Phoenix down. On an annual basis, prices remain depressed in all but two of the 20 cities; only Detroit and Washington posted year-over-year gains. But the good news, said S&P Index Committee Chairman David M. Blitzer, is that most of the 20 cities saw their annual rates of change improve in July.

But the market still has a ways to go before it's out of the woods. “While we have now seen four consecutive months of generally increasing prices, we do know that we are
still far from a sustained recovery," Blitzer said. "Eighteen of the 20 cities and both Composites are showing that home prices are still below where they were a year ago. The 10-City Composite is down 3.7% and the 20-City is down 4.1% compared to July 2010. Continued increases in home prices through the end of the year and better annual results must materialize before we can confirm a housing market recovery."

Blitzer also noted that despite declining rates of default as measured on the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices, consumer confidence remains weak and is falling, suggesting that a housing market recovery remains a long way off.

Mortgage rates mostly up for day on overnight surveys, with weekly trends mixed

While mortgage rates remain at historically low levels, on the overnight surveys, today's mortgage rates in several categories retreated from yesterday's and last week's lows.

This morning's average mortgage rates on the Bankrate.com overnight survey, with changes from yesterday and one week ago, are: 30-year fixed, 4.05% (+3 points, -8 points); 15-year fixed, 3.33% (+1 point, -1 point); 5-year ARM, 2.99% (+3 points, +4 points); 30-year fixed refinance loan, 4.15% (+3 points, -8 points).

Today's average afternoon mortgage rates on the Zillow.com National Mortgage Marketplace, with changes from Sunday and Sept. 21, are: 30-year fixed, 3.86% (+3 points, -6 points); 15-year fixed, 3.17% (+3 points, +7 points); 5-year ARM, 2.74% (+3 points, +13 points). Today's real-time rates as of 4 p.m., with changes from yesterday morning and this afternoon, are: 30-year fixed, 3.89% (+9 points, +3 points); 15-year fixed, 3.19% (+10 points, +2 points); 5-year ARM, 2.72% (+12 points, -2 points).

One basis point equals one hundredth of a percentage point. Rates reported in this article assume good credit (FICO score of 650 or higher) and a 20% down payment. Morning rates from Zillow.com are for loans for the most creditworthy borrowers (FICO score of 720 or higher).

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