The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell this week to 3.71 percent from 3.73 percent, according to Bankrate’s weekly survey of large lenders. That’s back near a low of two weeks ago that was last touched in 2017.

A year ago, it was 4.54 percent. Four weeks ago, the rate was 3.84 percent. The 30-year fixed-rate average for this week is 0.91 percentage points below the 52-week high of 4.62 percent, and is 0.01 percentage points higher than the 52-week low of 3.70 percent.

The 30-year fixed mortgages in this week’s survey had an average total of 0.31 discount and origination points.

Over the past 52 weeks, the 30-year fixed has averaged 4.02 percent. This week’s rate is 0.31 percentage points lower than the 52-week average.

  • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.05 percent from 3.07 percent.
  • The 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 3.43 percent from 3.47 percent.
  • The 30-year fixed-rate jumbo mortgage was flat at 3.71 percent.

At the current 30-year fixed rate, you’ll pay $460.85 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, down from $461.98 last week.

At the current 15-year fixed rate, you’ll pay $692.99 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, down from $693.95 last week.

At the current 5/1 ARM rate, you’ll pay $445.15 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, down from $447.37 last week.

Results of Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey of large lenders conducted February 12, 2020 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: 3.71% 3.05% 3.43%
Change from last week: -0.02 -0.02 -0.04
Monthly payment: $760.40 $1,143.43 $734.49
Change from last week: -$1.87 -$1.59 -$3.67

Where rates are headed

In Bankrate’s weekly Rate Trend Index poll, 50 percent of the experts say mortgage rates will rise in the coming week while 40 percent say they’ll be unchanged and just 10 percent say they’ll fall.

“The Fed is on hold, the economy is in good shape, and the coronavirus appears unlikely to have a material impact on the U.S. economy. With this backdrop, a slight upward drift in mortgage rates is likely,” said Greg McBride, Bankrate chief financial analyst, in his weekly RTI vote.

Logan Mohtashami, senior loan officer at AMC Lending Group, see rates going sideways. “A lot of action this last week but the bond market is roughly at the same spot. We got a solid jobs report but yields fell with that report. The coronavirus headlines have been less dramatic for now the past few days. So the bond market is saying the same story for weeks now. No recession but no acceleration in terms of rate of growth. This can keep mortgage rates low for a while until this changes.”

What mortgage shoppers should do

Of course, consumers shouldn’t buy a house just because rates are good. Rather, they should find a house that they want to own, negotiate hard for the price they want and only then use the market to lock in the rate they want.

And if you lock in a rate now and rates fall even further during a recession, you may be able to refinance at that time, taking advantage of the even more favorable situation.

For those who want refinance their current mortgage, the time for waiting is likely past. Rates are about 20 basis points off the low reached in 2012. It doesn’t make much sense to gamble on rates going lower when there’s so little downside left, .at least by historic standards.