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Mortgage Rates by Loan Product
Mortgage Rate ReportTuesday, October 24, 2017
Mortgage rates continue to resist gravity as well as the Federal Reserve's actions and remained stable for another week. Although the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged at its September meeting, its move to start trimming its balance sheet by selling U.S. treasuries and mortgage-backed securities as well as its signaling of a rate hike before the end of the year pushed mortgage rates moderately higher across the board in mid-September. Following this initial uptick, however, mortgage rates have been relatively steady for over a month. Mortgage rate stability continued this week despite the Federal Reserve releasing the minutes from its September meeting last week that all but guaranteed an interest rate hike before the end of the year.
In its September statement, the Fed highlighted labor market strength, improving household spending and growing business investment as offsets to moderate inflation in deciding to keep the federal funds rate unchanged. Although the Fed kept the federal funds rate steady at 1.000% to 1.250%, the decision to start its previously announced balance sheet shrinking program in October moved treasury yields higher and mortgage rates followed suit, with most programs experiencing a 0.125% increase in rates.
The minutes from the September meeting, released last week, show that Fed members continue to debate the impact of low inflation on the economy as well as the projected trajectory of inflation in the future. While some Fed board members pointed to low inflation as a reason to leave rates unchanged, others focused on projected inflation growth and multiple positive economic factors to support a near term interest rate hike. The more aggressive perspective seems to have won the debate and we are poised for the Fed to raise rates in December, as many industry analysts have predicted.
Fortunately for borrowers, mortgage rates have been relatively unresponsive to the Fed's intentions and were steady for another week. The interest rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage remained unchanged at 3.750% while the interest rate for a 15 year mortgage held at 3.000%. The interest rate on a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) stayed put at 3.000%, remaining attractive to borrowers seeking shorter-term mortgage programs willing to take on the risk of an ARM. FHA mortgage rates were flat at 3.250%, matching VA mortgage rates which also remained at 3.250%, with both programs appealing to home buyers focused on low or no down payment loan options. Keeping with the broader market trend, non-owner occupied mortgage rates remained at 4.000%. Bucking the trend in a positive direction, jumbo mortgage rates dipped 0.125% to 3.750%.
Although the Fed did not change rates, its economic outlook or forecast for future rate hikes in its September meeting, its actions and signals increased market uncertainty which usually leads to higher mortgage rates. Four weeks of relatively stable mortgage rates have returned a sense of calm to the mortgage market and interest rates remain near historical lows. With the Fed meeting minutes reinforcing the expectation for a rate hike expected before year end as well as three more anticipated hikes in 2018, prospective borrowers looking to buy a home or refinance their mortgage may be able to lock in a lower interest rate by acting sooner rather than later, before mortgage rates rise again, potentially at an accelerated pace.
Because mortgage rates change daily, we continue to actively monitor the mortgage market for changes. 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.
Reasons to Refinance Your Mortgage
Lower Your Interest Rate.
As a rule of thumb, if you are refinancing, your new interest rate should be at least .75% lower than your existing interest rate to justify the refinance closing costs (if any). Additionally, your lower monthly mortgage payment should enable you to recover your mortgage closing costs, or breakeven, within two and a half years.
Reduce Your Mortgage Term.
Shortening your mortgage term when you refinance allows you to lower your mortgage rate. For example, the interest rate on a 15 year mortgage is typically .5% - 1.0% less than the interest rate on a 30 year mortgage. A mortgage with a shorter term and lower interest rate results in significantly less total interest expense over the course of the mortgage. For example, a $250,000 15 year mortgage with a 2.750% interest rate saves a borrower approximately $100,000 in total interest expense as compared to a 30 year mortgage with a 3.500% interest rate.
Change Your Mortgage Program.
Refinancing your mortgage also enables you to change your mortgage program. For example, borrowers with an adjustable rate mortgage or interest only mortgage may refinance into a fixed rate mortgage if they are concerned interest rates will increase in the future. Alternatively, borrowers could decide to refinance a fixed rate mortgage into an adjustable rate mortgage to lower their current interest rate or if they believe interest rates will decline in the future.
Take Cash Out of Your Home.
Borrowers can use a cash-out refinance to access the equity in their homes. With a cash-out refinance your new mortgage amount is greater than your current mortgage balance and you keep the difference, less any closing costs, when the refinance closes. Borrowers can use the proceeds from a cash-out refinance for a multitude of purposes including to pay for a remodeling project or college tuition.
Why Borrowers Compare Mortgage Rates on FREEandCLEAR
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More FREEandCLEAR Mortgage Resources
Our Mortgage Refinance, Cash-Out, Debt Consolidation or Bi-Weekly refinance calculators enable you to evaluate different refinance scenarios and determine how much money you can save by refinancing
Our comprehensive mortgage refinance guide takes you through the refinance process from start to finish
Refinancing your mortgage is only one option for taking cash out of your home. We review all your cash-out alternatives and provide pros and cons so that you can select the option that is right for you
Make sure all your questions are answered before you start the refinance process. Submit your refinance queries to the FREEandCLEAR Mortgage Expert and receive a thorough answer within 24 hours