Mortgage rates have settled in the past couple of weeks, waiting for the outcome of the Republican tax overhaul plan.
According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average slipped to 3.90 percent with an average 0.4 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.) It was 3.94 percent a week ago and 3.57 percent a year ago.
The 15-year fixed-rate average fell to 3.24 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.27 percent a week ago and 2.88 percent a year ago. The five-year adjustable-rate average wandered lower to 3.22 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.23 percent a week ago and 2.88 percent a year ago.
“Mortgage rates ticked downward at the end of last week following the release of the GOP tax plan and have held steady early this week,” said Aaron Terrazas, a senior economist at Zillow. “The much-anticipated official nomination of Jerome Powell as the next chair of the Federal Reserve and strong jobs report were already priced in, and had little impact on rates. There are no major economic releases scheduled for this week, so markets are likely to be watching for any major announcements on tax reform progress.”
Bankrate.com, which puts out a weekly mortgage rate trend index, found that more than half of the experts it surveyed say rates will remain relatively stable in the coming week. Brett Sinnott, vice president of capital markets at CMG Financial, is one who expects rates to be flat.
“Global tensions continue in all regions of the globe, which has pulled a lot of media attention away from economic conditions,” Sinnott said. “With media coverage seeming to be a big market driver in recent history, the lack of coverage has given rates a temporary break from the spotlight and thus we have seen a slight tick downward. The Fed still expects to increase again before the end of 2017. With the natural slowdown because of the holiday season and continued increases in housing prices, the beginning of 2018 could lead to a battle of higher rates forcing lower housing prices.”
Meanwhile, mortgage applications ran out of steam last week, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The market composite index — a measure of total loan application volume — was unchanged. The refinance index fell 1 percent, while the purchase index ticked up 1 percent.