Mortgage rates unlikely to drop below 4% anytime soon

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Given the improving U.S. economy, mortgage rates will probably not fall back under the 4% mark anytime soon.

30-Year FRM 15-Year FRM 5/1-Year ARM
Average Rates 4.04% 3.49% 3.46%
Fees & Points 0.6 0.5 0.3
Margin N/A N/A 2.74

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.04% for the week ending Jan. 18, up from last week when it averaged 3.99%, according to Freddie Mac. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.09%.

"The U.S. weekly average for the 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose above 4% for the first time since last summer in this week's survey. This is the highest weekly average for the 30-year fixed rate mortgage since May of 2017," Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac's deputy chief economist, said in a press release.

"Some may be wondering if this is the last time we'll see a three handle on the 30-year mortgage rate. Never say never, but inflation is firming, the Federal Reserve's Beige Book indicates broad-based economic growth and labor markets are tightening. This means upward pressure on long-term rates, like the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, is building," Kiefer said.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage this week averaged 3.49%, up from last week when it averaged 3.44%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.34%.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.46% this week with an average 0.3 point, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the five-year adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.21%.

"Monetary policy decisions, incoming economic data and geopolitical news dominated headlines over the past few years, but markets are paying increasing attention to the fiscal outlook," Aaron Terrazas, Zillow's senior economist, said when that company released its own rate tracker on Wednesday.

"Absent spending cuts, the tax reform law enacted in December is likely to boost federal government borrowing, meaning that mortgage borrowers will increasingly be competing with Uncle Sam for long-term loans, pushing interest rates higher."

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Mortgage rates forecast Underwriting Freddie Mac Zillow Federal Reserve