Mortgage rates stay low, but wary consumers could miss out

Person biking away from open house sign | Bloomberg/Getty Images

Mortgage rates have held steady this week. And while rates chill, consumers' feelings about the housing market have gone cold, with Americans less willing to say that it's a good time to buy or sell.  

Homeowners who decide this is a time to stay put might consider refinancing while rates are still low. It could put extra money into your pocket.

Optimism about housing dims

The share of Americans who say it's a good time to buy a home has fallen to an all-time low, and now their views are souring on selling, too, according to Fannie Mae's Home Purchase Sentiment Index.

"It's clear that high home prices are a growing challenge helping to send buying sentiment to a record low," said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae's senior vice president and chief economist, in a news release. "However, we find the notable decline in selling sentiment surprising."

Homeownership rate inches up

Although Americans seem shaky about housing, U.S. homeownership has been on the increase this year.

The nation's homeownership rate rose slightly in the second quarter of 2017 to 63.7 percent, according to the U.S. Census Homeownership and Vacancy Survey. That's up from 62.9 percent last year.

Whether the wide range of mortgage deals out there or rising rents are spurring the increase in homeownership, it's a trend that's as rare as it is significant.

And there's even more promising news: the homeownership rate for the under-35 crowd rose to 35.3 percent in the second quarter, compared to 34.1 percent a year earlier.

Sure, millennials still face the hurdles of inventory shortages and rising home prices, but their ascent in the homeownership ranks is a positive step forward.

Mortgage rates hold steady

The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage stayed flat at 4.04 percent, according to Bankrate's weekly survey of large lenders. A year ago, it was 3.56 percent. Four weeks ago, the rate was 4.13 percent. The 30-year fixed-rate average for this week is 0.40 percentage points below the 52-week high of 4.44 percent, and is 0.50 percentage points higher than the 52-week low of 3.54 percent.

The 30-year fixed mortgages in this week's survey had an average total of 0.25 discount and origination points.

Over the past 52 weeks, the 30-year fixed has averaged 4.05 percent. This week's rate is 0.01 percentage points lower than the 52-week average.

  • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.27 percent from 3.28 percent.
  • The 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rose to 3.49 percent from 3.48 percent.
  • The 30-year fixed-rate jumbo mortgage fell to 4.03 percent from 4.05 percent.

At the current 30-year fixed rate, you'll pay $479.72 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, unchanged from last week.

At the current 15-year fixed rate, you'll pay $703.64 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, down from $704.13 last week.

At the current 5/1 ARM rate, you'll pay $448.49 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, up from $447.93 last week.

Weekly national mortgage survey

Results of's weekly national survey of large lenders conducted August 9, 2017 and the effect on monthly payments for a $165,000 loan:

30-year fixed15-year fixed5-year ARM
This week's rate:4.04%3.27%3.49%
Change from last week:N/C-0.01+0.01
Monthly payment:$791.54$1,161.01$740.00
Change from last week:N/C-$0.80+$0.92


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