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: Mortgage rates drop below 3% again — offering opportunities to buyers and homeowners

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Mortgage rates slid below the 3% mark once again, giving both existing homeowners and prospective buyers the chance to lock-in historically low interest rates amid a competitive housing market.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.97% for the week ending April 8, down seven basis points from the previous week, Freddie Mac 
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reported Thursday. The rate on the 30-year loan has fallen 20 basis points since reaching the highest level since June of last year back at the end of March.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, meanwhile, fell six basis points to an average of 2.29%. The 5-year Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 2.83%, up three basis points from the previous week.

The drop in rates reflect a shift back toward long-term bonds. Mortgage rates roughly follow the direction of long-term bond yields, particular the 10-year Treasury note
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“After a sustained selloff in 2021’s first quarter, demand for Treasurys has increased recently, keeping downward pressure on yields and thus mortgage rates,” said Matthew Speakman, an economist with Zillow
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“Continuing a recent trend, yields showed little regard for strong economic data reports released last week, trending downward despite strong readings on retail sales and consumer confidence,” Speakman said, adding that rising COVID-19 cases may be overshadowing the optimistic economic data.

The decline in rates offers another lifeline, particularly to homeowners who were unable to take advantage of last year’s record-breaking low mortgage rates. Research from Freddie Mac indicates that minority households and households with lower incomes were less likely to refinance their mortgage, according to Freddie Mac’s chief economist Sam Khater.

“Low and declining mortgage rates provide these homeowners the opportunity to reduce their monthly payment and improve their financial position,” Khater said in this week’s mortgage rates report.

Home buyers, too, are welcoming the drop in interest rates. And the timing perhaps couldn’t be better. Rates are falling just as the spring home-buying season is kicking into full gear. Data from Realtor.com shows that the number of new listings is on the rise.

“Buyers still have to grapple with fast-selling homes and rising prices, but at least there may be more options to choose from soon,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com. “This should help home sales maintain recent momentum.”

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