March 9th, 2020
Home mortgage rates slipped to their lowest rates on record as uncertainty over the coronavirus continued to impact financial markets. Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates for fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages.
Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by 16 basis points to 3.29 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages was also 16 basis points lower at 2.79 percent.
Mortgage rates for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages were two points lower on average at 3.18 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.20 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages. The 10-Year Treasury Yield, which tracks with mortgage rates, slipped to 0.90 percent last week; this was the first time the yield rate fell below one percent.
Homeowners rushed to take advantage of low mortgage rates through refinancing, but homebuyers could not gain the same benefits from record-low mortgage rates due to persistent shortages of available and affordable homes for sale. Analysts advised against waiting to refinance as home mortgage rates aren’t expected to fall much lower.
Construction Spending Rises, Fed Cuts Key Rate as National Unemployment Rate Falls
Analysts have long relied on home builders to ease chronically short supplies of homes for sale. Construction spending rose to 1.80 percent in January as compared to December’s rate of 0.20 percent. Analysts expected January’s construction spending to rise to 0.90 percent.
The Federal Reserve cut its target federal funds rate range by 0.50 percent to 1.00-1.25 percent.in a move to relieve the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the economy. The Fed may cut its key rate by an additional 0.25 percent when the central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee holds its scheduled meeting on March 17-18th.
Labor-sector reports showed mixed results for job growth. The government’s Non-Farm Payrolls report showed 273,000 public and private-sector jobs added in February, this pace was unchanged from January. ADP reported 183,000 jobs added in February as compared to 209,000 jobs added in January.
First-time unemployment claims fell to216,000 claims filed from the prior week’s reading of 219,000 new claims filed. Analysts expected 217,000 new claims filed. The national unemployment rate dropped to 3.50 percent in February as compared to January’s reading of 3.60 percent.
This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on inflation and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.