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Mortgage rates may rise
Homebuyers and mortgage refinancers had a nice run in 2016: The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was under 3.75 percent all summer. Then it shot upward after the presidential election and averaged 4.24 percent in December.
Forecasters believe mortgage rates above 4 percent are here to stay. The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts that the 30-year fixed will average 4.3 percent in the first quarter. Fannie Mae, the National Association of Realtors and Wells Fargo predict it will average 4.1 percent. Freddie Mac forecasts an average mortgage rate of 4.2 percent for all of 2017.
Matthew Carbray, a certified financial planner for Ridgeline Financial Partners in Avon, Connecticut, says he urged clients to refinance throughout 2016 to lock in low mortgage rates. Now he's telling clients that early 2017 is a great time to buy a home -- again, because mortgage rates are still low, even if they're in the 4s.
"For those who have been contemplating a purchase, it may be as opportunistic a time as you're going to get to lock in a rate," Carbray says.