HSH.com Weekly Mortgage Rate Radar: Refinances Get Easier as Mortgage Rates Edge Lower, FHA Refi Costs Drop

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HSH.com releases its latest Weekly Mortgage Rate Radar showing a slight decline in mortgage rates from the previous week. The Weekly Mortgage Rate Radar reports the average rates and points offered by lenders for the two most popular types of mortgages, the conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and the conforming 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). Average rates for both eased during the week ending March 6.

Mortgage rates remain both stable and favorable, and opportunities to buy or refinance a home have been pretty strong for a few months. However, there are costs to refinancing which can be a deterrent for some borrowers who lack the cash.

Rates on the most popular types of mortgages declined slightly, according to HSH.com's Weekly Mortgage Rate Radar. The average rate for conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by a single basis point (0.01 percent) to 4.04 percent. Conforming 5/1 hybrid ARM rates decreased by 2 basis points, closing the Wednesday-to-Tuesday wraparound weekly survey at an average of 2.94 percent.

"Mortgage rates remain both stable and favorable, and opportunities to buy or refinance a home have been pretty strong for a few months,” said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com. “However, there are costs to refinancing which can be a deterrent for some borrowers who lack the cash to participate in the market.”

On Tuesday, President Obama announced a lowered-cost streamline refinancing program for certain homeowners with existing Federal Housing Administration-backed loans. Fees to transfer an old FHA loan to a new FHA loan have been substantially reduced. The upfront insurance cost to the borrower will be a fee of just 0.01 percent of the loan amount, and recurring annual premiums will be 0.55 percent, or half of the existing cost for many FHA borrowers. These new streamline refinance premiums take effect on June 11.

"Previously, FHA borrowers faced a full percentage point as the upfront fee to get into the FHA program and recurring annual fees of 1.10 percent. The new program will save many homeowners a bundle of cash both at the closing table and for years to come compared to what they would have spent. This looks like a good deal," said Gumbinger. Gumbinger noted, however, that the FHA is increasing both upfront and recurring insurance premiums for new borrowers entering the FHA insurance program starting April 1.

Average mortgage rates and points for conforming residential mortgages for the week ending March 6 were, according to HSH.com:

Conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage

  •     Average rate: 4.04 percent
  •     Average points: 0.26

Conforming 5/1-year adjustable-rate mortgage

  •     Average rate: 2.94 percent
  •     Average points: 0.23

Average mortgage rates and points for conforming residential mortgages for the previous week ending February 28 were, according to HSH.com:

Conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage

  •     Average rate: 4.05 percent
  •     Average points: 0.25

Conforming 5/1-year adjustable-rate mortgage

  •     Average rate: 2.96 percent
  •     Average points: 0.24

Methodology
The Weekly Mortgage Rate Radar reports the average rates and points offered on conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and conforming 5/1 ARMs. The weekly mortgage rate survey covers a large sample of mortgage lenders and is conducted over a Wednesday-to-Tuesday cycle, with data released every Wednesday. HSH.com’s survey helps consumers find the best rates on home loans in changing market conditions. Unlike mortgage rate surveys that report average rates only, the Weekly Mortgage Rate Radar’s inclusion of both average rates and average points provides a more accurate view of mortgage terms currently offered by lenders.

Every week, HSH.com conducts a survey of mortgage rate data for a wide range of consumer mortgage products including ARMs, FHA-backed and jumbo mortgages, as well as home equity loans and lines of credit from hundreds of direct lenders in the U.S. For information on additional loan products, visit HSH.com.

About HSH.com
HSH.com is a trusted source of mortgage data, trends, news and analysis. Since 1979, HSH’s market research and commentary has helped homeowners, buyers and sellers make smart financial choices and save money on mortgage and home equity products. HSH.com, of Pompton Plains, N.J., is owned and operated by QuinStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ: QNST), one of the largest Internet marketing and media companies in the world. QuinStreet is committed to providing consumers and businesses with the information they need to research, find and select the products, services and brands that meet their needs. The company is a leader in visitor-friendly marketing practices. For more information, please visit QuinStreet.com.

Press Contact
Andrew Heilman
775-784-3842
pr(at)hsh(dot)com

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