November 21, 2017 in Mortgages
Photo Credit: Bloomberg/Getty Images
Mortgage rates were largely unchanged this week as job growth continues to help more people buy new and existing homes.

The average for the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased just one basis point, or 0.01 percent, from the previous week, in Bankrate’s weekly survey of lenders.

That’s good news for potential homebuyers who were waiting on the sidelines after rates jumped last week. With solid job growth lately, more people are able to get a mortgage or refinance their home.

Job growth “is starting to slowly push up wages, which is in turn giving households added assurance that now is a good time to buy a home,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors.

More people buying existing homes

People are turning more to existing homes as October sales for this type of housing had its strongest jump since June, according to recent figures from the National Association of Realtors. The median existing home price in October was $247,000, up 5.5 percent from a year ago.

However, the 2 percent increase in existing home sales month-to-month in October was still 0.9 percent below the same period last year because people are struggling to find the right housing that’s affordable to their needs.

“Low inventory is limiting choices for prospective buyers and keeping price growth elevated,” says Yun.

The wait for the right housing

Many economists hope that, as prices increase for both renters and homeowners, builders will be pressured to create more housing inventory. Currently, a lot of people are getting priced out of homes and rentals, especially in larger metro areas.

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There are 5.7 million single-family renters who’ve entered the market in the last 10 years, while single-family homeowners declined by 770,000 during the same period, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

“The home-building industry is facing a number of headwinds, however, that suggest that affordability will remain a challenge for the medium term until sufficient new supply is brought on line,” says Lynn Fisher, MBA’s vice president of commercial/multifamily research and economics.

New homes are in the pipeline

Housing starts have already grown 13.7 percent in October compared to a month earlier, according to the Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, representing the highest rate of housing production since October 2016.

Home builders “are optimistic about the future of the housing market, even as uncertainties remain and they continue to face supply-side issues,” says Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, in a statement.

The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose this week to 4.10 percent from 4.09 percent, according to Bankrate’s weekly survey of large lenders. A year ago, it was 4.10 percent. Four weeks ago, the rate was 4.13 percent. The 30-year fixed-rate average for this week is 0.34 percentage points below the 52-week high of 4.44 percent, and is 0.15 percentage points higher than the 52-week low of 3.95 percent.

The 30-year fixed mortgages in this week’s survey had an average total of 0.30 discount and origination points.

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Over the past 52 weeks, the 30-year fixed has averaged 4.15 percent. This week’s rate is 0.05 percentage points lower than the 52-week average.

  • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.43 percent from 3.39 percent.
  • The 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rose to 3.68 percent from 3.65 percent.
  • The 30-year fixed-rate jumbo mortgage rose to 4.14 percent from 4.13 percent.

At the current 30-year fixed rate, you’ll pay $483.20 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, up from $482.62 last week.

At the current 15-year fixed rate, you’ll pay $711.45 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, up from $709.49 last week.

At the current 5/1 ARM rate, you’ll pay $459.15 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, up from $457.46 last week.

Results of Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey of large lenders conducted November 22, 2017 and the effect on monthly payments for a $165,000 loan:

Weekly national mortgage survey
Breakdown 30-year fixed 15-year fixed 5-year ARM
This week’s rate: 4.10% 3.43% 3.68%
Change from last week: +0.01 +0.04 +0.03
Monthly payment: $797.28 $1,173.89 $757.60
Change from last week: +$0.96 +$3.23 +$2.79
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