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Originally Published: Jul 24, 2020
Originally Published: Jul 24, 2020 Last Updated: Jul 24, 2020 5 min read

New home sales were up during the month of June as buyers took advantage of record-low interest rates. The news, out Friday, caps a week of mostly positive news for the real estate market, but also of growing concerns about the broader economic recovery.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, sales of newly built homes were up 13.9% from the revised May numbers, representing a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 776,000 units. That's the strongest pace in 13 years and 6.9% higher than the June 2019 pace of 726,000 units. The average sales price was $384,700.

"Record low mortgage rates and pent-up demand from the spring continue to be main drivers for the housing market this summer. New home sales picked up for the second straight month in June, in line with various other housing market indicators showing strong demand following the pandemic-induced low in April," said Joel Kan, who runs economic and industry forecasting for the Mortgage Bankers Association in reaction to the Census Bureau information.

In terms of available supply, the estimate of new homes for sale at the end of June was 307,000 units, which represents a 4.7 month supply at the current sales pace.

Week in Review

The housing market is ending the week on a positive note as homeowners and buyers took advantage of low mortgage rates to refinance and purchase new homes. Meanwhile, high unemployment numbers and a low housing inventory continue to cause concern over a sustained recovery.

This week saw the number of existing homes sales in June jump at a record pace of nearly 21% over May numbers, while mortgage purchase loan applications were 19% higher than a year ago. Refinances, which have made up most of the mortgage loan activity since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, were up 122% year-over-year.

Meanwhile, the number of loans in forbearance plans decreased, dropping below the 4 million homeowner mark to 3.9 million, the lowest number in two months.

Factors that are negatively affecting the recovery include a short housing supply, as the inventory of existing homes is down 33% from year ago levels, and new claims for unemployment, which rose this week to 1,416,000. Experts view these factors as potential roadblocks to a sustained housing market recovery.

Average Mortgage Rates Today

For the week ending July 23, the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked up to 3.01% with 0.8 points paid, according to Freddie Mac. That's up 0.03 percentage points the previous average of 2.98%, the lowest rate recorded in 50 years of Freddie Mac's interest rate survey.

The average rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was 2.54% with 0.7 points paid, up 0.06 percentage points from the previous week, while the average rate on a 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage increased to 3.09% with 0.3 points paid.

Average Refinance Rates Today

A year ago the average mortgage rate was 3.75%. A homeowner with a $250,000 mortgage balance paying 3.75% on a 30-year loan could cut their monthly payment from $1,158 to $1,055 by financing at today’s lower rates. (It is important to consider closing fees and that refinancing could 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 location, 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. (The rates you see may be different.)

JP Morgan Chase

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

Mortgage rates advertised for July 24:

30-year fixed: 3.056%

15-year-fixed: 2.614%

5-year ARM: 2.700%

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


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

Mortgage rates advertised for July 24:

30-year fixed: 3.246%

15-year-fixed: 2.942%

(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 July 24:

30-year fixed: 3.228%

15-year-fixed: 2.937%

5-year ARM: 2.828%

(Rates are APRs.)

Bottom Line:

Mortgage Rates Just Dropped Below 3% for the First Time Ever. The Real Story Is Why They Aren't Even Lower

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