An article in today’s Los Angeles Times points out a more than month-long decline in fixed mortgage rates has ended. Freddie Mac / Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp (OTCBB:FMCC)’s recent survey shows the 30-year home loan rate averaged 4.28% early this week, an increase of .04% from the 4.23% average interest rate reported a week ago. The Freddie Mac / Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp (OTCBB:FMCC) survey also showed the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was unchanged at an average rate of 3.33%.
Mortgage rates had fallen to as low as 3.5% in late 2012, but then rose all the way to 4.5% in mid- to late-2013 in anticipation of the Fed taper having a significant impact on the interest rate environment. Rates began dropping again a couple of months ago when it became apparent that the Fed taper will be very gradual, but today we are seeing the first signs of a reversal in that trend.
Little impact on mortgage rates from Yellen speech
New Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s first appearance before Congress this week was by all accounts well received, and in her address Yellen made it clear that she would continue the Fed’s long-term accomodative policy. Previous Fed Chair Ben Bernanke had said that no interest rate hikes are likely until 2015, and Yellen clearly reiterating that position is very good news for those who may want to buy a home or refinance sometime in the next few quarters.
“With Ms. Yellen expressing confidence that the recovery will continue and even accelerate over the coming year, it remains a fair bet that mortgage rates will move higher,” explains Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com, a mortgage market research firm.
It should be noted that the mortgage loan rates quoted above only apply to borrowers with excellent credit and who are making at least a 20% down payment or have at least 20% home equity.