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Mortgage Rates by Loan Product
Mortgage Rate ReportSaturday, August 18, 2018
Mortgage rates dipped lower for the second consecutive week after the Federal Reserve decided to keep interest rates unchanged at its August meeting. Although the Fed's statement reflected its more aggressive rate strategy, its move to stay put was widely expected after its June hike. The Fed's concise statement highlighted a strengthening economy including a strong labor market, household spending and business investment. Although some could interpret the use of more hawkish language as paving the way for future interest rate hikes, the mortgage market responded positively to the Fed's decision to hold the target Federal Funds rate at 1.750% to 2.000%.
Bullish telegraphing from the Fed as well as a string of favorable economic news had pushed mortgage rates higher for much of the summer but rates have pulled back the past two weeks, which is positive news for borrowers. Rates dipped last week on the news that the Fed left interest rates unchanged and slid again this week as turmoil in the global currency market led investors to buy U.S. treasuries, pushing yields lower. Lower treasury yields usually translates into lower mortgage rates, which is what happened this week.
The drop in rates may only be temporary in light of recent reports that show a tightening job market, although moderate wage growth could help keep inflation low and benefit mortgage rates. Although the real estate market is facing challenges due to a lack of affordable inventory and other factors, the overall strength of the economy is offering little reason for the Fed to change course which could lead to higher mortgage rates in the future despite the decline we saw this week.
The mortgage rate for a 30 year fixed rate loan slid 0.125% to 4.250% while the rate for a 15 year fixed rate mortgage dropped to 3.625%. The interest rate on a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) also declined 0.125% to 3.750%. FHA mortgage rates and VA mortgage rates both held steady at 3.875%, with both programs appealing to borrowers focused on low or no down payment programs, especially first-time home buyers. Jumbo mortgage rates dropped to 4.375% while non-owner occupied mortgage rates remained at 4.625%.
Although the Fed's decision to keep rates unchanged was anticipated, the mortgage market's reaction to the news was pleasantly surprising. After rising moderately over June and July, the drop in mortgage rates is welcome news for borrowers. While interest rates are impossible to predict, prospective borrowers looking to buy a home or refinance may be able to lock in a lower rate by acting sooner rather than later. As lenders react differently to dynamic market conditions, we have also seen greater fluctuations in mortgage rate pricing, which means borrowers benefit more by comparing several lenders.
Because rates change constantly, we continue to actively monitor the mortgage market for new developments. Borrowers should check the FREEandCLEAR rate tables regularly to review personalized, updated mortgage rates for lenders in their area. Our rate tables are free to use and require no personal information.
Why Select an FHA Mortgage
Low Down Payment.
The main benefit of the FHA mortgage program is that it enables borrowers to buy a home with a down payment as low as 3.5% of the property purchase price. This compares to 10% - 20% down payment required to buy a home with most conventional mortgage programs. Borrowers can also combine the FHA program with a down payment assistance program or closing cost grant to further reduce the personal financial contribution they are required to make to buy a home. The FHA program charges borrowers additional up-front and ongoing fees but makes home ownership more attainable, especially for low-to-moderate income borrowers. The low down payment requirement also makes the FHA program an attractive financing option for first-time buyers.
Low Interest Rate.
FHA mortgage rates are typically .125% - .500% lower than the current interest rate on a conventional loan or low down payment mortgage program. This is because FHA loans are backed by the federal government plus borrowers are required to pay an ongoing FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) which is similar to private mortgage insurance and protects the lender against default or foreclosure. The FHA MIP is an extra ongoing cost for borrowers but the insurance enables lenders to offer lower rates on FHA loans. Borrowers should consider both the interest rate and FHA MIP when evaluating the total cost of the loan.
Flexible Borrower Qualification Requirements.
The borrower qualification requirements for the FHA mortgage program are more flexible than for other low or no down payment mortgage programs. For example, the program typically requires that borrowers have a minimum credit score of only 580 and there are cases where a borrower can obtain an FHA mortgage with a lower score. Additionally, lenders have more discretion when applying debt-to-income ratios to determine what size mortgage borrowers can afford. The higher the debt-to-income ratio, the larger the mortgage the borrower can afford.
Available to All Borrowers.
The FHA mortgage program is available to all borrowers that qualify. There are no borrower income limits although there are limits on loan amounts available through the program. Additionally, the program applies to all eligible properties, up to four units in size, as long as the borrower occupies the property.
Why Borrowers Compare FHA Mortgage Rates on FREEandCLEAR
Comparing FHA mortgage rates can save you thousands. Use our rate tables to find the lender offering the lowest rates and fees
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More FREEandCLEAR Mortgage Resources
Use our FHA Mortgage Qualification Calculator to determine what size FHA loan you can afford as well as the required up-front and ongoing FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium
Review our comprehensive overview of the FHA Mortgage Program including borrower eligibility requirements
We provide a thorough summary of multiple mortgage programs that enable borrowers to buy a home with little or no down payment
Ask the FREEandCLEAR Mortgage Expert about the FHA mortgage program or any mortgage topic and receive an insightful response within 24 hours