The drop in mortgage rates during 2019 marked a dramatic turnaround from the previous year expectations, when mortgage rates briefly reached 5 percent and the Federal Reserve indicated two interest rate increases. Instead, surging trade wars shivered confidence in the markets, the Fed cut rates and investors —hungry for the relative security of mortgage debt that they were willing to accept lower yields— drove mortgage rates down.
A new decade started and 2020 greets home shoppers with lower mortgage rates compared with 2019. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.72% this week, compared to 4.51% at the beginning of 2019. In the past two months, the thirty-year rates have floated around 3.7% average, showing some stability in mortgage rates over the last few weeks.
Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist said: “The stability is welcome news after the interest rate turbulence of the last year, which caused a slowdown in the housing market and other interest rate-sensitive sectors. The low mortgage rate environment combined with the red-hot labor market is setting the stage for a continued rise in home sales and home prices.”
The national averages with mortgage rates reported by Freddie Mac for the week ending Jan. 2 are as follows:
- 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.72%, with an average 0.7 point, falling slightly from a 3.74% average a week ago. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.51%.
- 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.16%, with an average 0.7 point, dropping from last week’s 3.19% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.99%.
- 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.46%, with an average 0.3 point, rising slightly from a 3.45% average last week. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.98%.
The drop in mortgage rates was a save on the budgets of potential homeowners, who could take out larger loans for the same monthly payments; however, economists say housing affordability will become a more pressing issue in 2020, determining where people live and how they spend.
After mortgage rates dropped, home price appreciation accelerated, ending 13 months of slowing home price growth, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, a measure of home prices.
The National Association of Realtors: The trade association for real estate agents predicts moderate growth in the housing market and continued low mortgage rates. The experts predicts that the low rates will last. It is expected that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will remain below 4% in the coming year, moving to 3.8% by the end of 2020.
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