Mortgage Rates Remain Stable While Purchase Loans Surge

Mortgage Weekly Update

Mortgage rates remained steady yet again this week. According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage came in at 2.86% — down just two basis points from last week’s 2.88%. 

“It’s Groundhog Day for mortgage rates, as they have remained virtually flat for over two months,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “The holding pattern in rates reflects the markets’ view that the prospects for the economy have dimmed somewhat due to the rebound in new COVID cases.”

Despite little movement in mortgage rates, overall loan activity rose 0.3% for the week, with an 8% uptick in purchase loan applications alone. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, it was the biggest week for purchase loans since April.

“Compared to the same week last September, which was right in the middle of a significant upswing in home purchases, applications were down 11% — the smallest year-over-year decline in 14 weeks,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting. “Both conventional and government purchase applications increased.”

The surge in purchase demand made for a more competitive market this week, for sure, but it also helped push up home prices even more. According to Realtor.com, median listing prices are up 9.7% over the year.

“The average loan size for a purchase application rose to $396,800,” Kan said. “The very competitive purchase market continues to put upward pressure on sales prices.”  

Refinancing activity dipped 3% from the week prior, falling to its slowest pace since July, MBA reported. Just 65% of all loans were refinances this week, down from nearly 67% the week prior.

More in mortgage and housing news

  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced it would pause rules put in place earlier this year that limit Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s purchases of second home and investment loans. This should increase the availability of these loans and reduce fees and rates for borrowers. 
  • Rents are now up 11.5% over the year, according to Realtor.com. The median rent is now $1,633 per month — a $169 increase compared to August 2020.
  • According to new data from Redfin, competition is letting up. Just 59% of offers written by the brokerage’s agents faced a bidding war last month. That’s down from 62% in July and 74% in April.

This week in mortgage rates

Mortgage rates remained largely flat this week, falling slightly on 30- and 15-year fixed-rate loans and rising 9 basis points on 5/1 ARMs. 

Here’s how rates looked for each loan type:

Make sure to check back here next week for the latest mortgage rates and news.

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By Aly Yale / September 16th, 2021 / Categories: / Tags:

Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at AlyJYale.com or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.