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Mortgage Rates Give Homebuyers Some Holiday Relief, Falling for Sixth Week in a Row

Mortgage Rates Give Homebuyers Some Holiday Relief, Falling for Sixth Week in a Row

Aarthi Swaminathan

The numbers: Mortgage rates continued to inch downwards, providing some relief to prospective homeowners.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.27% as of December 22, according to data released by Freddie Mac on Thursday.

That’s down 4 basis points from the previous week—one basis point is equal to one-hundredth of a percentage point.

Rates have dropped for the sixth week in a row. Rates were last at this level in mid-September. Last week, the 30-year was at 6.31%. Last year, the 30-year was averaging at 3.05%

Rates are much lower than they were a month ago, when the 30-year was averaging above 7%.

The average rate on the 15-year mortgage rose to 5.69%.

“Rates have declined significantly over the past six weeks, which is helpful for potential homebuyers,” Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac, said in a statement.

But “new data indicates that homeowners are hesitant to list their homes,” he added.

“Many of those homeowners are carefully weighing their options as more than two-thirds of current homeowners have a fixed mortgage rate of below four percent,” Khater explained.

What are they saying? Buyers are taking advantage of the dip in rates to refinance their mortgages.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, refinancing demand jumped 6% in the latest week.

Falling rates have helped homeowners: The national median mortgage payment has dropped from $2,012 in October to $1,977 in November, the MBA said in a separate report. Mortgage payments have risen by nearly $600 in the first 11 months of the year.

The MBA said it expects the housing market and the U.S. economy to “remain volatile in early 2023.” It also expects mortgage rates to continue coming down.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dipped below 3.67% during the afternoon trading session on Thursday.

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