Mortgage rates fell to another record low last week, for the twelfth time since the beginning of the year.
The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 2.78%, according to Freddie Mac. That’s the lowest level in the nearly 50 years of the mortgage giant’s survey. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 2.32%.
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“Despite the uncertainty that we’ve all experienced this year, the housing market, buoyed by low rates, continues to be a bright spot,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.
And rates might get even lower, according to economists.
The 30-year mortgage rate could fall as low as 2.3% over the next six to nine months, if the Federal Reserve continues to prop up the economy and Treasury prices remain low, said Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist at LendingTree.
“If there is election ambiguity, the Fed will overemphasize its commitment to support the economy and financial stability,” he said.
In the meantime, the low rates continue to encourage people to refinance their mortgages and buy new homes.
“With a rising second wave of Covid cases, the challenge of social distancing continues to drive peoples’ quest for a housing solution,” said George Ratiu, senior economist for Realtor.com.
Demand for homes remains strong in early November, a surprising shift from historical and seasonal trends, he said.
“However, the lack of available homes is pushing listing prices considerably higher than a year ago,” said Ratiu. “The steep price gains are placing affordability front-and-center.”
Higher prices could offset the benefits of lower mortgage rates. For buyers looking to purchase, the median-priced home this month, said Ratiu, the monthly mortgage payment will be just $8 less than it would have been last year, for a total savings of about $99 per year.