Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 9 July 2020

CORONAVIRUS

US 30-year mortgage rates hit record lows

Monetary easing measures put in place to fight economic impact of the coronavirus mean home loans drop to lowest ever rate of 3.13%

A sign promoting an open house event for a sale in Brandon, Missouri last year. US mortgage rates hit the lowest level recorded in 50 years, dropping to 3.13% on Thursday. AP Photo
A sign promoting an open house event for a sale in Brandon, Missouri last year. US mortgage rates hit the lowest level recorded in 50 years, dropping to 3.13% on Thursday. AP Photo

US mortgage rates dropped to a record low for the fourth time since the coronavirus began roiling financial markets earlier this year. They may not have much more room to fall.

The average for a 30-year fixed-rate loan was 3.13 per cent, down from 3.21 per cent last week and a low point in almost 50 years of data-keeping by Freddie Mac. The previous record was 3.15 per cent, reached late last month.

Rates are sliding towards a theoretical floor for lenders who have to cover their fixed costs. They’ve tumbled as the Federal Reserve holds its benchmark rate close to zero and buys mortgage bonds as part of its plan to stimulate the economy.

It’s plausible that 30-year rates could drop below 3 per cent, possibly reaching 2.7 per cent on average, said Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist at LendingTree.

“In a practical sense, there’s probably not much room to go,” Mr Kapfidze said. “Though we are in an unprecedented economic environment and there’s a theoretical possibility rates will fall further.”

Low rates have stimulated demand for homes. Applications for home purchase loans climbed for a ninth straight week to the highest level since January 2009, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday.

Updated: June 18, 2020 07:21 PM

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