The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose this week to 3.75 percent from 3.71 percent, according to Bankrate’s weekly survey of large lenders. A year ago, it was 4.52 percent. Four weeks ago, the rate was 3.77 percent.

The 30-year fixed-rate average for this week is 0.87 percentage points below the 52-week high of 4.62 percent, and is 0.05 percentage points above the 52-week low of 3.70 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 4.01 percent. This week’s rate is 0.26 percentage points lower than the 52-week average.

  • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.08 percent from 3.05 percent.
  • The 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 3.42 percent from 3.43 percent.
  • The 30-year fixed-rate jumbo mortgage fell to 3.70 percent from 3.71 percent.

At the current 30-year fixed rate, you’ll pay $463.12 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, up from $460.85 last week.

At the current 15-year fixed rate, you’ll pay $694.44 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, up from $692.99 last week.

At the current 5/1 ARM rate, you’ll pay $444.59 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, down from $445.15 last week.

Results of Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey of large lenders conducted February 19, 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: 3.75% 3.08% 3.42%
Change from last week: +0.04 +0.03 -0.01
Monthly payment: $764.14 $1,145.82 $733.58
Change from last week: +$3.74 +$2.39 -$0.91

Where rates are headed

In the week ahead (Feb. 20-26), 15 percent of the experts polled by Bankrate predict rates will rise, 23 percent say rates will fall, and 62 percent predict rates will remain relatively unchanged.

“As long as coronavirus remains in the headlines, it’ll keep a lid on mortgage rates,” said Greg McBride, senior vice president and chief financial analyst, Bankrate.

Dick Lepre, senior loan adviser, RPM Mortgage, Alamo, Calif., says we’re in an odd time when it is neither the fundamentals nor the technical which will drive rates, but rather the effect of COVID-19 on the world economy. “Until such time as China can get plants operational again, businesses will be without products or components of products there will be uncertainty. Uncertainty tends to drive Treasury yields and mortgage rates down. Worse yet, China is not exactly forthcoming, making it difficult to believe anything their government says.”

What mortgage shoppers should do

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 25 basis points off the historic 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.