Investor optimism drives today's mortgage rates higher

Sandy Smith's picture

Stock traders, increasingly confident that Europe will work out an acceptable solution to its debt crisis, have been bidding stocks higher since late last week. That has added momentum to the rise in interest rates that began towards the end of the previous week.

For those in the market to purchase a new home or refinance an existing mortgage, what this means is that the window of opportunity to take advantage of super-low mortgage rates has shut again. However, even today's higher mortgage rates remain extremely affordable by historical standards, and the consensus of the experts is that rates should remain low for some time to come. The current rise in mortgage rates is not expected to last long, and most lenders and analysts say that in the long run, the Federal Reserve's current policy of holding long-term interest rates down will remain the dominant force influencing mortgage rates.

And as the rates quoted in this story are nationwide averages, chances are that would-be borrowers can find lower rates from lenders in their specific area if they qualify. At times like these, comparison shopping on sites like Bankrate.com, Zillow.com or LendingTree.com could yield significant savings.

Short-term mortgage rate movements diverge for day and week on overnight surveys

As if to confirm the expert consensus - maybe - there are already signs on the national overnight surveys that the mortgage rate climb may be losing steam. Well, there are signs of this on one of them, at least, and the rate of increase has slowed on the other.

This morning's average mortgage rates on the Bankrate.com overnight survey, with changes from yesterday and one week ago, are: 30-year fixed, 4.19% (+2 points, +7 points); 15-year fixed, 3.49% (+2 points, +4 points); 5-year ARM, 3.07% (+1 point, unchanged); 30-year fixed refinance loan, 4.3% (+3 points, +7 points).

Yesterday's average afternoon mortgage rates on the Zillow.com National Mortgage Marketplace, with changes from Thursday and one week ago, are: 30-year fixed, 3.95% (-7 points, -3 points); 15-year fixed, 3.3% (-10 points, -6 points); 5-year ARM, 2.84% (-6 points, -13 points). Today's real-time rates as of 9 a.m., with changes from Friday morning and yesterday afternoon, are: 30-year fixed, 3.98% (+1 point, +3 points); 15-year fixed, 3.31% (+1 point, +1 point); 5-year ARM, 2.84% (+8 points, unchanged).

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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