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By Leslie Cook
July 31, 2020

Record low interest rates kept attracting home buyers into the housing market as low inventory pushed home prices up during the month of July.

The median home price surged 8.5% year-over-year, reaching an all-time high of $349,000, according to the latest data from Realtor.com. The increase comes in the middle of a pandemic that virtually shut the country down and led to the largest economic contraction in U.S. history.

“When the pandemic helped tip the U.S. economy into recession, most homeowners and home buyers braced for falling house prices,” said Danielle Hale, Realtor.com’s chief economist. “That’s what happened in the last recession. But that’s not what we’re seeing in today’s market.”

Hale went on to point out that there was already a housing shortage to begin the year, with about a third less properties available on the market than last year. At the same time, homeowners who may have been thinking about selling put those plans on hold as COVID-19 lockdowns and fears of the virus spreading took over. Add record low mortgage rates to the mix and we have the perfect storm for home prices to rise.

“We have this market imbalance tipped pretty solidly in favor of sellers at this point,” said Hale. “Yet many homeowners believe that now is still not a good time to sell.”

Week in Review

There was both good and bad news for the housing market this week the economy continues to deal with a spike in COVID-19 infections.

On the downside, the total number of mortgage loans dipped slightly—both purchase and refinance applications were down about 1% from the previous week. Unemployment claims increased slightly to 1.43 million new claims, indicating that the economic recovery that started in June may be putting on the brakes. Finally, the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced that U.S. gross domestic product dropped a record annual pace of 32% in the second quarter.

On the plus side, the market learned that number of pending home sales jumped 16.6% in June, up 6.3% over June 2019. The number of loans in forbearance declined for the sixth week in a row. Meanwhile, mortgage rates dipped back below 3% for only the second time in history as the housing market continued to post gains.

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What are people paying for mortgages right now?

Borrowers with 700 credit scores were charged an average of 3.548% to secure a 30-year fixed-rate purchase mortgage on Thursday, according to Money’s survey of over 8,000 mortgage lenders across the country. The average rate for a 30-year refinance was 4.363%.

What are today’s advertised 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. (All rates are APRs. 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 31:

30-year fixed: 2.941%

15-year-fixed: 2.520%

5-year ARM: 2.660%

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

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Wells Fargo

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

Mortgage rates advertised for July 31:

30-year fixed: 3.103%

15-year-fixed: 2.830%

5-year ARM: 2.828%

Quicken

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

Mortgage rates advertised for July 31:

30-year fixed: 3.119%

15-year-fixed: 2.815%

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

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Bottom Line:

Everything You Need to Know About Mortgage Rates in 2020

How Long Will Home Prices Continue to Rise? 8 Experts Weigh In

Money Survey: 76% of Young Americans Say the Pandemic Has Impacted Their Living Situation

Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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