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By Leslie Cook
November 30, 2020
Money

Sales of newly built homes remained well above last year’s pace, despite dipping slightly in October.

Mortgage rates continue their seesaw pattern, ticking up slightly from last Tuesday.

Today’s Mortgage Rates

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate purchase mortgage was 3.272% last Wednesday. Last Tuesday the average rate was 3.25%.

Money’s mortgage rates include data from over 8,000 lenders across the United States and are updated daily. 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.

Mortgage Rates for November 30, 2020
Loan type Average Rate
30-Year Fixed Loan 3.272%
15-Year Fixed Loan 2.426%
30-Year FHA Loan 3.143%
30-Year VA Loan 3.277%
30-Year Jumbo Loan 3.671%
Source: Money | Date: Nov. 25, 2020 | Rates assume a credit score of 700
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How does someone qualify for the best mortgage rates?

Mortgage rates vary from state to state. Last Wednesday, borrowers in Illinois were quoted the lowest mortgage rates — at 3.093%. People looking for mortgages in Nevada saw the highest average rate at 3.527%.

Nationwide, borrowers with the highest credit scores, 740 and above, were quoted rates averaging 2.875%, while those with credit of 620 or below were shown rates of 4.663%.

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 lenders 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 2.72% with 0.7 points paid for the week ending November 25. That’s steady with a week earlier when rates hit the 13th record low of the year. The mortgage purchaser’s weekly survey reflects borrowers who put 20% down on conforming loans and have excellent credit.

Today’s Best Mortgage Refinance Rates

Money’s survey also shows that the offered rate for a 30-year refinance for someone with a 740 credit score was 3.463% last Wednesday. Last November, the average mortgage rate (including fees) was 3.874%.

Refinance Rates for November 30, 2020
Loan type Average Rate
30-Year Fixed Loan 3.463%
15-Year Fixed Loan 2.778%
30-Year FHA Loan 3.532%
30-Year VA Loan 3.586%
30-Year Jumbo Loan 3.613%
Source: Money | Date: Nov. 25, 2020 | Rates assume a credit score of 740

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 $894 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 today?

Newly built homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 999,000 units in October, according to a U.S. Census Bureau release on new residential sales last week.

This represents a dip from September’s annual rate of 1,002,000. However, compared to October 2019, the rate of new home sales is up more than 40%. A sale is recorded when a sales contract is signed or a deposit is accepted. Homes can be in any stage of construction: not started, under construction, or completed.

“Buyer traffic remained strong in October even as the country’s attention was focused on the elections and policy issues going into 2021,” said Chuck Fowke, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. With mortgage rates remaining at or near all-time lows and builder confidence at an all-time high, Fowke expects both buyer demand and sales to remain steady moving forward.

The estimated inventory of newly built homes for sale at the end of October was 278,000 units, down 13% from last year. This represents a 3.3 month supply at the current pace of sales. New home inventory has been below a four-month supply level since July. Of the homes for sale, only 44,000 have been completed and are ready to be occupied. With the gap between construction and home sales being at a record high in early fall, the NAHB expects an acceleration in single-family construction and a slight deceleration in the growth of new home sales to help narrow the deficit.

Bottom line:

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