Mortgage rates have been steadily declining, but have finally reached the record lows — the lowest they have been since 2013. The Wall Street Journal reports that according to data compiled by HSH.com, a mortgage information website, the average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 3.76%.
A fixed-rate mortgage holds the same interest rate over the life of the loan, and rates for these fell four straight weeks in December 2014 before reaching the record low rate in the beginning of January 2015. Thirty years is the most common length of mortgages, but home buyers do usually have the option to choose from 20-year, 15-year, and 10-year mortgages.
Rates rose slightly during the first few days of January before dropping to the low rate Tuesday, according to CNN Money.
“Rates fell dramatically last week primarily due to fears of slowing global growth, weak equity markets, falling oil prices and low market activity over the New Year’s holiday,” said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow, a home and real estate marketplace. “Given the recent history of markets largely overlooking strong U.S. data, we expect rates to remain flat or fall slightly this week on international news.”
“For conforming loans we have rolled out lower down payment options with as little as 3% needed, plus we see additional business coming from first-time home buyers due to the Administration’s announcement on Thursday lowing insurance premium fees for Federal Housing Administration loans,” says Michael Winks, Northpointe Bank’s Executive Vice President & Chief Lending Officer.
There are a few expected benefits of the low average mortgage rates. The most obvious is that it gives more people incentive to buy a new home and allows people to buy homes that they would probably be unable to afford otherwise. People who already do own homes may use this time to refinance their mortgages.