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By Leslie Cook
Updated: August 20, 2020 10:02 AM ET

Borrowers with 700 credit scores were charged an average of 3.489% to secure a 30-year fixed-rate purchase mortgage on Wednesday, according to Money’s survey of over 8,000 mortgage lenders across the country. The average rate for a 30-year refinance was 4.429%.

30-year fixed-rate mortgage purchase
3.489%
Rates of August 19, 2020
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View Rates for May 07, 2021

Refinance rates today

A homeowner with excellent credit who qualifies for the lowest rates as reported by Freddie Mac can save a significant amount of money when refinancing. A year ago the average mortgage rate was 3.55%. A homeowner with a $250,000 mortgage balance paying 3.55% on a 30-year loan could cut their monthly payment from $1,130 to $1,053 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.)

For more on refinancing read: Is Now a Good Time to Refinance My Mortgage? A Decision-Making Guide

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What else do house hunters need to know today?

Listing prices were up 10% year-over-year for the week ending August 15, according to Realtor.com’s Weekly Recovery Report. That was the fastest increase since January 2018, with competition for a limited inventory allowing sellers to ask for higher prices.

Overall, the Weekly Recovery Index dipped slightly to 104.8, as the number of new listings coming onto the market dropped below pre-pandemic levels. New listings were down 11%, while the overall housing inventory was down 36% year-over-year. Still, thanks to the higher listing prices and homes selling four days faster than last year, the index was still above pre-COVID levels (100 being the baseline).

“With supply and demand moving in opposite directions, sellers are clearly gaining the upper hand in the market as buyer competition builds up and prices gain momentum going into the fall,” said Javier Vivas, director of economic research for Realtor.com. “Buyers hoping to close on a home this year should expect some hot competition, especially if they are looking at more affordable or entry-level housing.” He recommends buyers get pre-approved for a mortgage early so they can act quickly.

Of the 50 metropolitan areas looked at for the survey, 34 were are a recovery reading of 100 or higher, with Las Vegas leading the way with an index of 126, followed by Seattle at 120.7, New York at 116.5 and Boston 115.7. Metro areas include the main city as well as surround suburbs.

Mortgage tip of the week

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

Jess Kennedy, co-founder and CCO of online mortgage lender Beeline:

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What should house hunters be watching this week?

On Friday, the National Association of Realtors will release its report on Existing Home Sales for July, where it’s expected there will be an almost 12% monthly increase over the month of June. The housing market continues to show signs of recovery despite the lingering impact of COVID-19.

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Bottom Line:

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