Stocks slump and mortgage rates tumble after them

Interest rates on mortgages fell this week after global markets weathered more turmoil, despite promising stateside data.

Job market ends 2015 with a bang

The U.S. economy added 292,000 jobs in December 2015, according to the latest employment situation summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate kept its place at 5%.

"With firms hiring like crazy, it is hard to believe the economy is not also growing solidly," Joel Naroff, president and chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania, says in a blog post.

The better-than-expected jobs report wasn't enough to keep yields on government debt from nosediving. The 10-year Treasury yield has fallen to its lowest level in 2 months, going from about 2.17% Monday to about 2.08% Wednesday afternoon. Investors have been flocking to Treasuries in light of fluctuating oil prices and other international worries.

Mortgage rates tend to follow the direction of long-term government bonds.

"There's too much concern with the global economy" for rates to increase right now, says Michael Becker, branch manager at Sierra Pacific Mortgage in White Marsh, Maryland.

A look at this week's rates

  • The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.05% from 4.11%, according to Bankrate's Jan. 13 survey of large lenders. A year ago, the rate was 3.8%. Four weeks ago, it was 4.09%. The mortgages in this week's survey had an average total of 0.22 discount and origination points. Over the past 52 weeks, the 30-year fixed has averaged 4%. This week's rate is 0.05 percentage points higher than the 52-week average.
  • The benchmark 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.29% from 3.38%.
  • The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate jumbo mortgage fell to 3.93% from 4.08%.
  • The benchmark 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 3.4% from 3.46%.

Weekly national mortgage survey

Results of's Jan. 13, 2016, weekly national survey of large lenders and the effect on monthly payments for a $165,000 loan:

30-year fixed15-year fixed5-year ARM
This week's rate:4.05%3.29%3.4%
Change from last week:-0.06-0.09-0.06
Monthly payment:$792.50$1,162.61$731.74
Change from last week:-$5.73-$7.25-$5.50

Featured Rates

Mortgage analysis

Foreclosures fall off

The national inventory of foreclosures dropped by 21.8% from November 2014 to November 2015, according to data released Tuesday from CoreLogic. Foreclosure inventory is at its lowest level since November 2007.

CoreLogic's data also show that seriously delinquent mortgages, or loans that are at least 90 days past due, fell 21.7% year over year in November.

Mortgage rates likely won't change drastically anytime soon, says Bryan Sullivan, executive vice president and chief financial officer at loanDepot in Foothill Ranch, California.

"We're going to hover in these ranges right now for the foreseeable future for myriad reasons," he says. "I don't expect an uptick here or really a massive downtick either."

If you're under contract for a home, Becker says now might be a good time to lock. And would-be buyers should consider stepping into the market.

"There is always the chance that this was just a glitch and rates are going higher, so it doesn't hurt to get preapproved now, start looking and maybe buy a little earlier than your plans dictate," he says.

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