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By Leslie Cook
Updated: November 12, 2020 10:02 AM ET

Homebuyers and sellers took a break last week as the election and rising COVID-19 cases were the focus of the nation’s attention. Amid signs of a market cool-down, the supply of homes for sales deteriorated once again as the number of new listings coming onto the market decreased, helping to keep listing prices and the pace of homes sales well above 2019 levels.

Today’s Mortgage Rates

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate purchase mortgage was 3.675% on Tuesday. The average rate for a 30-year refinance was 4.371%.

Money’s most recent mortgage rates include data from over 8,000 lenders across the United States and are updated daily. (Lenders did not release rates for Wednesday in observance of Veterans Day.) These rates include discount points and represent what a borrower with a 20% down payment and 700 credit scores — roughly the national average FICO score — would have been quoted.

30-year fixed-rate purchase mortgage
3.675%
Rate of November 10, 2020
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View Rates for January 16, 2021

Mortgage rates vary from state to state. On Tuesday, borrowers in Illinois were quoted the lowest mortgage rates — at 3.379%. People looking for mortgages in South Carolina saw the highest average rate at 3.872%. Nationwide, borrowers with the highest credit scores, 740 and above, were quoted rates averaging 3.08%, while those with credit of 640 or below were shown rates of 4.713% — a 1.623 percentage-point spread.

You may be able to negotiate a lower rate if you shop around or if you have other accounts with the lender. (Money’s picks for the best mortgage lenders are here.) Currently, some banks are hiking up advertised rates to keep demand in check, so you may be offered a lower rate if you reach out directly.

Freddie Mac’s widely quoted Primary Mortgage Market Survey put rates at 2.84% with 0.7 points paid for the week ending November 12, a 0.0.6 percentage point jump from last new record low of 2.78. The mortgage purchaser’s weekly survey reflects borrowers who put 20% down on conforming loans and have excellent credit.

Today’s Refinance Rates

Money’s most recent survey also shows that the offered rate for a 30-year refinance for someone with a 740 credit score was 3.824% on Tuesday. Last November, the average mortgage rate (including fees) was 3.874%.

30-year fixed-rate mortgage refi
3.824%
Rate of November 10, 2020

A homeowner with a $200,000 mortgage balance currently paying 3.874% on a 30-year could potentially cut their monthly payment from $940 to $935 by financing at the current lower rates. To determine if it’s worth it to refinance your mortgage, also consider the closing fees you paid on your current mortgage, how much your new lender is charging and how long you have left on your loan term. (Our picks for the best lenders for refinancing are here).

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What else is happening in the housing market Thursday?

According to Realtor.com’s Market Recovery Index and Weekly Housing Report for the week ending November 7, there are signs that the housing market could be cooling down. The index dipped slightly to 108.0 nationwide, a decline of 1.4 points from the previous week and 4.2 points lower than October’s high of 112.4. The index compares real-time indicators such a the number of searchers on Realtor.com, median listing prices, the number of new listings, and the pace of sales to pre-pandemic data from January 2020, with a score of 100 being the baseline.

“Between the presidential election and a new wave of coronavirus cases, buyers and sellers had a lot of reasons to pause last week,” said Danielle Hale, Realtor.com’s chief economist. “The big question is whether both buyers and sellers will jump back into the market after last week’s break. With mortgage rates expected to rise on news of a likely vaccine, buyers may have reason to jump back in and find a home sooner rather than later, but sellers may be more inclined to stay on hold. Thus, even as overall activity slows, we may very well see continued price growth and quick sales.”

Inventory took a hit as new listings lost ground once again, helping to keep home prices and pace of sales ahead of their normal seasonal rate. New listings, were down 12% from the week of November 7 last year, a step back after showing signs of improvement in late October. The decline helped push the total housing inventory 39% lower than the same time period last year. Total inventory had been holding steady at 38% below 2019 levels for the previous five weeks.

Listing prices continued their 13-week streak of double-digit growth, increasing by 12.9% year-over-year. Meanwhile, the pace of sales remains well above 2019’s pace, with homes selling 13 days faster than last year. It marks the seventh consecutive week where homes are selling nearly two-weeks faster than the year before.

If this pace holds steady or increases, it could be an indication that homebuyers will remain active for the rest of the year, which would buck the typical home sales trend of fewer sales during the fall and winter seasons. However, if the pace of sales slows further, it could be a sign that the typical seasonal slowdown is finally beginning.

Mortgage Tip of the Week

Buying a home can be daunting. Follow these expert tips to make the process easier.

Emanuel Santa-Donato, senior director of capital markets at Better.com, on the first steps to take when applying for a mortgage:

For more on how to get the best mortgage rates, read: How to Get the Lowest Mortgage Rate: A Step-by-Step Guide.

More from Money:

Savvy Homebuyers Are Using an Under-the-Radar Strategy to Win Bidding Wars in 2020

As Federal Protections Weaken, Here’s a State-by-State Guide to Pandemic Eviction and Foreclosure Policies

Lockdown Converted Many Americans Into Serious Savers. Now They Have Houses to Show for It

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