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By Leslie Cook
June 23, 2020
Rangely Garcia / Money

Low interest rates and the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions appear to be providing a boost to the national housing market. More homes are being sold and fewer homeowners are taking advantage of mortgage forbearance options.

The sale of new single-family homes surged during the month of May, up 16.6% over April figures, and up 12.7% above the May 2019 numbers, according to data released Tuesday by the United States Census Bureau.

“The jump in new home sales is a nice indicator of what’s to come because it’s based on contract signings, a somewhat early stage of the home buying process,” noted Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com. “A similar surge in next week’s pending home sale, which covers the much larger existing homes market, will be good confirmation that the low point in home sales is likely behind us.”

Monday, the Mortgage Bankers Association also estimated that the total number of loans in forbearance was 4.2 million or 8.5% of mortgages in the U.S. The drop of 100,000 is the first decline since March, when the CARES Act made it easier for Americans to pause mortgage payments due to pandemic related hardship.

“Fewer homeowners in forbearance underscores the continued improvements in the job market, and provides another sign of the fundamental health of the housing market, which has rebounded considerably over the past several weeks,” according to Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist. “We expect to see further improvements in the weeks ahead given the drop in forbearance request this week.”

With mortgage rates hovering near historic lows, real estate markets are experiencing a surge in buyer interest after months of stagnation. Inventory remains low with sellers still cautious, but experts see signs owners are starting to list as more regions come out of coronavirus lockdowns. On Monday, New York became the latest city to allow in-person showings.

Average Mortgage Rates Today

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 3.13% with 0.8 points paid for the week ending June 18, according to Freddie Mac. That’s 0.02 percentage points below the previous all-time low of 3.15% set May 28.

According to Freddie Mac, the average rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was 2.58% with 0.8 points paid, down 0.04 percentage points from last week, while the average rate on a 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage also decreased slightly to 3.09% with 0.4 points paid.

Average Refinance Rates Today

A year ago the average rate was 3.84%. A homeowner with a $250,000 mortgage balance paying 3.84% on a 30-year loan could cut their monthly payment from $1,170 to $1,071 by financing at today’s lower rates. (It is important to note that refinancing involves closing fees and will reset the clock on your mortgage, meaning you will have to make payments longer.)

Today’s Mortgage Rates

Of course, mortgage rates vary widely by location and personal factors like the type of property you plan to buy, the size of your down payment, and your credit score. Here are today’s advertised mortgage rates at some of the mortgage industry’s largest lenders.

Quicken

Quicken, a non-bank lender based in Detroit, is the nation’s largest mortgage lender by dollar origination volume.

Mortgage rates advertised for June 23:

30-year fixed: 3.5%

15-year-fixed: 3.088%

(Quicken doesn’t advertise a five-year adjustable rate. Rates are APRs.)

Wells Fargo

Based in San Francisco, Wells Fargo has more than 7,000 locations.

Mortgage rates advertised for June 23:

30-year fixed: 3.228%

15-year-fixed: 2.793%

5-year ARM: 2.867%

(Rates are APRs.)

JP Morgan Chase

Based in New York, JP Morgan Chase has nearly 5,000 U.S. branches.

Mortgage rates advertised for June 23:

30-year fixed: 3.069%

15-year-fixed: 2.637%

5-year ARM: 2.828%

(Rates based on New York City zip code 10006. Rates are APRs.)


Bottom Line:

If you have decent credit, you may be in a position to take advantage of mortgage rates near all time lows

View Money’s Best Mortgage Lenders of 2020

Compare Money’s Best Mortgage Refinance Companies of 2020

Related: Why Right Now Is the Best Time to Refinance Your Mortgage, According to David Bach

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