The number of mortgage loan applications has been higher than a year earlier for nine straight weeks, as home buyers take advantage of historically low interest rates. The renewed interest from buyers, who were kept on the sidelines in the spring due to the coronavirus, is also starting to show up in closed sales. Existing home sales surged at a record pace in June.
The volume of purchase loan applications increased 4% for the week ending July 17 and were up 19% compared to the same period last year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Refinance loans also picked up by 5% and were 122% above year-ago levels.
“There continues to be strong homebuyer demand this summer, as home shoppers have returned to the market in many states,” said Joel Kan, head of economic and industry forecasting for the MBA.
Existing home sales jumped nearly 21% compared to May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.72 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors. Despite the increase, sales still lag behind 2019 numbers by 11%.
“The sales recovery is strong, as buyers were eager to purchase homes and property that they had been eyeing during the shutdown,” noted Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “This revitalization looks to be sustainable for many months ahead as long as mortgage rates remain long and job gains continue.”
Sales increased throughout the four major regions, with the West leading the way with a 32% increase, followed by the South region with a 26% jump and the Midwest up 11%. The northeast posted the smallest gain, climbing just over 4%.
Average Mortgage Rates Today
Mortgage rates broke the 3% barrier last week, the lowest rate recorded in 50 years of Freddie Mac’s interest rate survey. For the week ending July 16, the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage set a new record low of 2.98% with 0.7 points paid, according to Freddie Mac. That’s 0.05 percentage points below the previous low of 3.07%, set a week earlier.
The average rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was 2.48% with 0.7 points paid, down 0.03 percentage points from the previous week, while the average rate on a 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage increased to 3.06% with 0.3 points paid.
Average Refinance Rates Today
A year ago the average mortgage rate was 3.81%. A homeowner with a $250,000 mortgage balance paying 3.81% on a 30-year loan could cut their monthly payment from $1,166 to $1,051 by financing at today’s lower rates. (It is important to consider closing fees and that refinancing could reset the clock on your mortgage, meaning you will have to make payments longer.)
Today’s Mortgage Rates
Of course, mortgage rates vary widely by location and personal factors like location, the size of your down payment and your credit score. Here are today’s advertised mortgage rates at some of the mortgage industry’s largest lenders. (The rates you see may be different.)
Quicken, a non-bank lender based in Detroit, is the nation’s largest mortgage lender by dollar origination volume.
Mortgage rates advertised for July 22:
30-year fixed: 3.236%
(Quicken doesn’t advertise a five-year adjustable rate. Rates are APRs.)