Chicago Home Buyers Still Can Lock In Low Mortgage Rate

Chicago home buyers and homeowners seeking to refinance this spring still may have a chance to lock in a near rock-bottom interest rate and save money, experts say.


On April 15th, benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rates nationwide fell to an average of 3.04% from 3.13% a week earlier, reported Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.


On April 1st, 30-year fixed rates hit an average of 3.18% nationwide, a rise of more than a half of 1 percentage point—since setting a modern-day record low of 2.65% on January 7, 2021.



The bargain 2.65% benchmark is the lowest rate in the Freddie Mac survey’s history which dates back to 1971. A year ago, lenders were charging an average of 3.31% for 30-year fixed loans.


“Mortgage rates took a dip on April 15th when the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased by almost 10 basis points, week over week,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.


“The economy is improving on the demand side and on the supply side, a variety of goods and materials remain scarce,” Khater said. “As a result of this imbalance, pricing pressures are building and causing inflation to rise.”


Despite the recent dip in mortgage rates, Freddie Mac’s economists expect interest charges to increase modestly for the remainder of this year, so Khater urged home buyers to act quickly if they want to lock in a mortgage in the low-3% range.


The Freddie Mac survey reported that 15-year fixed-rate mortgages nationwide averaged 2.35% down from 2.42% a week earlier. A year ago, the 15-year fixed home loan averaged 2.80%.


In Chicago, Gateway Capital Mortgage was quoting 2.877% on 30-year fixed loans, and 2.125% on 15-year fixed mortgages on April 15th, according to rateSeeker.com.


The Freddie Mac survey is focused on conventional, conforming, fully amortizing home purchase loans for borrowers who put 20% down and have excellent credit.

Photo by Don Garbarino

In 2020, mortgage interest rates set new record lows an amazing 16 times, and thousands of first-time home buyers moved across the threshold into new and existing housing. There may be a brief window of opportunity for locking in a near record low interest rate this spring for buyers who move quickly.


Analysts said long-term mortgage rates moved higher because of rising interest rates on 10-year Treasury notes. Recently, they rose to 1.74% from a shockingly low 0.54% during the depths of the pandemic. On April 15th, the 10-year Treasury-note yield slipped to 1.53% from 1.63% a week earlier.


The window to save money also may still be open for homeowners seeking to refinance, since mortgage rates still are lower than last spring when the pandemic began.


Looking back even further, today's average rate is 1.27% lower than the 4.31% lenders were quoting in March of 2019. For the last five to 10 years, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate has floated in the 4% range.


Homeowners who refinanced their mortgage as recently as two years ago are still likely to cut their monthly payment if they refinance again this spring. For example, the monthly payment on a $350,000 loan two years ago would be about $240 less on average today.


For more housing news, visit www.dondebat.biz. Don DeBat is co-author of “Escaping Condo Jail,” the ultimate survival guide for condominium living. Visit www.escapingcondojail.com.

“The book is Escaping Condo Jail by Sara Benson and Don DeBat. I would say that anybody thinking about buying a condo, or even anybody serving on a condo board, or anybody who has any connection to a condo, this is must reading—all 600 and something pages. Thanks a lot for a great book!”

 

Steve Sanders, “Your Money Matters” WGN TV, December 22, 2014

By Don DeBat

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