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Mortgage Rates by Loan Product
Mortgage Rate ReportTuesday, January 23, 2018
Mortgage rates were mixed on the week although they seem to be gradually moving higher in response to the Federal Reserve's decision to raise interest rates in its December meeting. The Fed highlighted continued job growth, declining unemployment, expanding household spending and increasing business investment in its decision to increase the key Federal Funds rate by .250% to 1.250% to 1.500%. From the Fed's perspective, the positive labor and economic indicators outweighed lower than targeted inflation to justify the interest rate hike, which was widely anticipated.
Although mortgage rates surprisingly dropped immediately after the Fed's announcement, the dip was short lived and we have seen rates move moderately higher over the course of January. A string of positive labor market reports combined with the continued strength of the stock market has pushed treasury yields higher, with mortgage rates responding in similar fashion. While mortgage rates continue to be attractive, they have rebounded from their post Fed meeting lows and rates were flat or higher this week, depending on the loan program.
The interest rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage held steady at 3.875% and the interest rate for a 15 year mortgage also remained flat at 3.125%. The interest rate on a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) was stable at 3.250%, remaining attractive to borrowers seeking shorter-term mortgage programs. Jumbo mortgage rates also stayed put at 4.000% after increasing last week. On the flip side, non-owner occupied mortgage rates rose 0.125% for the second week in a row to 4.250%. FHA mortgage rates and VA mortgage rates also climbed with FHA rates increasing 0.250% to 3.500% and VA rates rising 0.125% to 3.375%. Although both FHA and VA mortgage rates inched higher, the programs remain appealing to borrowers focused on low or no down payment loan options, especially first-time home buyers.
The Federal Reserve's decision to increase interest rates was anticipated and although mortgage rates dropped briefly they have since followed the Fed's lead and moved higher in January. With the Fed reinforcing its outlook for multiple anticipated interest rate hikes in 2018 and economic momentum continuing to build to start the year, prospective borrowers looking to buy a home or refinance their mortgage may be able to lock in a lower mortgage rate by acting sooner rather than later, before interest rates rise, potentially at an accelerated pace.
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 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.
The interest rate for an FHA mortgage is typically .125% - .500% lower than the current interest rate on a conventional loan or other low / no down payment mortgage programs. This is because 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.
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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