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Mortgage Rates by Loan Product
Mortgage Rate ReportWednesday, April 25, 2018
Mortgage rates moved mostly higher on the week although there were also some positive signs as the market continued to respond to the Fed's increasingly hawkish stance on rates. In its March meeting, the Fed pointed to strong job growth, record low unemployment, an improving economic outlook and an expected boost in near-term inflation to justify its decision to raise the Federal Funds rate 0.250% to 1.500% to 1.750%.
The minutes from the March meeting also shed more light on the Fed's more aggressive outlook on rates. Fed members were unanimous in their forecast for higher inflation, accelerating GDP growth and additional interest rate increases in the future. The Fed meeting minutes highlighted the 2017 tax cuts and recently passed budget as potential economic catalysts, which is code for sources of inflation, while also recognizing the the negative effects of a possible trade war. In sum, the meeting minutes reinforced the Federal Reserve's aggressive forecast for interest rates with the market anticipating two more rate hikes in 2018 and four rate increases in 2019.
Mortgage rates were mixed in response to the meeting minutes as relatively little new information was released. Most lenders had already factored the Fed's March rate hike into their mortgage rate pricing and the expected number of future rate hikes remained unchanged despite the Fed's bullish tone. Over the past week, however, mortgage rates increased moderately as fears of a trade war receded and more positive economic news hit the market, although the news was not all negative for borrowers.
The interest rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage increased 0.125% to 4.375% while the interest rate for a 15 year mortgage climbed 0.125% to 3.875%. The interest rate on a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) also moved 0.250% higher to 3.875% as short term mortgage products became more expensive. In more positive news, FHA mortgage rates and VA mortgage rates were flat at 3.875%, with both programs appealing to borrowers focused on low or no down payment options, especially first-time home buyers. Jumbo mortgage rates were also steady at 4.375% while non-owner occupied mortgage rates remained at 4.625%.
The Federal Reserve's decision to increase interest rates in March was widely anticipated and its meeting minutes only made its long-term outlook more clear. Although there was a bit of a a delay, we are now seeing mortgage rates gradually move higher in response to the Fed. With the Fed reinforcing its forecast for multiple rate hikes in 2018 and 2019 (up to six!), prospective borrowers looking to buy a home or refinance their mortgage may be able to lock in a lower mortgage rate by acting now. While interest rates are challenging to forecast, the Fed's latest statement and meeting minutes underscore how higher inflation could yield more aggressive action on interest rates.
Because mortgage rates fluctuate daily, we continue to actively monitor the mortgage market for updates. Borrowers should check the FREEandCLEAR mortgage rate tables regularly to review customized, updated mortgage rates for lenders in their area. Our rate tables are free to use and require no personal information.
Why Select an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)
Lower Initial Rate.
The initial interest rate for an ARM is typically lower than the interest rate on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage. Borrowers benefit from the lower interest rate, sometimes called a “teaser” rate, for the first 3, 5, 7 or 10 years of the loan, depending on what type of ARM you select. After this initial period, which is also called the fixed rate period, the interest rate is subject to change and possibly increase. Borrowers who know they are only going to own their home for a set period of time are able to take advantage of the lower interest rate afforded by an ARM, without being exposed to the risk that their interest rate increases in the future.
Lower Monthly Payment.
A lower interest rate means a lower monthly payment for borrowers. A lower monthly mortgage payment provides additional financial flexibility for borrowers and makes owning a home more affordable, at least during the initial fixed rate period of the loan. The flip side of an adjustable rate mortgage is that your monthly payment can potentially increase in the future if interest rates go up. Borrowers need to make sure that they can afford their monthly payment both at the beginning of the mortgage, when the interest rate is lower, and over time if their payment goes up.
Larger Mortgage Amount.
The lower teaser interest rate and monthly payment enable borrowers to afford a larger mortgage amount and potentially buy more home. Being able to qualify for a larger mortgage amount is one of the main attractions of an adjustable rate mortgage. The downside of being able to afford a larger loan amount with an adjustable rate mortgage is that you lose the certainty that comes with a fixed rate mortgage, where the interest rate remains the same over the life of the mortgage.
You Think Interest Rates Will Go Down.
The interest rate for an adjustable rate mortgage is subject to change after a fixed period of time, usually the first 3, 5, 7 or 10 years of the mortgage. The period of the loan when the interest rate can change is called the adjustable rate period and lasts until the end of the loan term, which is usually 30 years. If you think interest rates will decline in the future then an adjustable rate mortgage may be a good option. Because if interest rates go down during the adjustable rate period of your loan, your monthly payment will decrease which is great for borrowers. Please note that predicting interest rates is highly challenging so this approach can expose you to significant risk.
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More FREEandCLEAR Mortgage Resources
Use our Adjustable Rate Mortgage Calculator to calculate the initial monthly payment and worst case scenario for an ARM based on today’s interest rates
Understand the ins and outs of an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) including key loan terminology and how they work
Adjustable rate mortgages involve more risk than other types of mortgages. Be sure to understand the downsides of an ARM so you can make an informed decision when you select your mortgage
Got a question about an adjustable rate mortgage (or any mortgage topic)? Ask the FREEandCLEAR Mortgage Expert and receive an informative response within 24 hours