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The benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell again for the third week in a row to 4.25 percent from 4.29 percent, according to Bankrate’s weekly survey of the nation’s largest lenders. Mortgage rates are now sitting at a six-week low.

While homebuyers benefit from lower interest rates, especially amid crimped affordability from higher home prices, the impetus driving rates down isn’t cause for celebration.

“Concerns about the China trade dispute had investors gravitating toward safe-haven bonds, helping bring mortgage rates lower,” says Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst. “If the situation deteriorates, mortgage rates will fall further, but be careful what you wish for.”

A year ago, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 4.78 percent. Four weeks ago, the rate was 4.34 percent. The 30-year fixed-rate average for this week is 0.85 percentage points below the 52-week high of 5.10 percent, and is 0.08 percentage points above the 52-week low of 4.17 percent.

The 30-year fixed mortgages in this week’s survey had an average total of 0.32 discount and origination points.

Over the past 52 weeks, the 30-year fixed has averaged 4.68 percent. This week’s rate is 0.43 percentage points lower than the 52-week average.

  • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.61 percent from 3.67 percent.
  • The 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 3.86 percent from 3.96 percent.
  • The 30-year fixed-rate jumbo mortgage fell to 4.20 percent from 4.24 percent.

At the current 30-year fixed rate, you’ll pay $491.94 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, down from $494.28 last week.

At the current 15-year fixed rate, you’ll pay $720.30 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, down from $723.26 last week.

At the current 5/1 ARM rate, you’ll pay $469.38 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, down from $475.11 last week.

Results of Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey of large lenders conducted May 15, 2019 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: 4.25% 3.61% 3.86%
Change from last week: -0.04 -0.06 -0.10
Monthly payment: $811.70 $1,188.49 $774.48
Change from last week: -$3.87 -$4.89 -$9.46

U.S. housing inventory increases as home-price growth cools in first quarter

Home prices kept marching up in the first quarter of 2019, but the pace of growth tapped the brakes from the previous quarter, according to a new quarterly report from the National Association of Realtors.

The median existing single-family home price in the first quarter was $254,800, up 3.9 percent from $245,300 a year ago but down 1.2 percent from $258,000 the previous quarter, NAR reported.

Another positive sign for the housing market: an increase in inventory in the first quarter of 2019. By the end of the quarter, 1.68 million existing homes were for sale, a 2.4 percent increase over the 1.64 million available at the end of the first quarter in 2018. Over the same time period, the average supply of homes during 2019’s first quarter rose to 3.8 months, up from 3.5 months a year ago.

All told, these are positive signs for homeowners, said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, in a statement.

“Homeowners in the majority of markets are continuing to enjoy price gains, albeit at a slower rate of growth,” Yun said. “A typical homeowner accumulated $9,500 in wealth over the past year.”

Although median family income in the U.S. jumped to $77,7524 in the first quarter, overall affordability fell because of higher home prices, NAR found.

To purchase a home at the national median price, a homebuyer with a 5 percent down payment would need to make an annual income of $60,143, according to the report. Meanwhile, a buyer with a 10 percent down payment would need an income of $56,978 and a buyer with 20 percent down would have to make at least $50,647 in annual income.

The “Bankrate.com National Average,” or “national survey of large lenders,” is conducted weekly. The results of this survey are quoted in our weekly articles and national media outlets. To conduct the National Average survey, Bankrate obtains rate information from the 10 largest banks and thrifts in 10 large U.S. markets. In the Bankrate.com national survey, our Market Analysis team gathers rates and/or yields on banking deposits, loans and mortgages. We’ve conducted this survey in the same manner for more than 30 years, and because it’s consistently done the way it is, it gives an accurate national apples-to-apples comparison.