Mortgage rates fall, head to best levels for 2019

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From Doug Whiteman:

Lower mortgage rates continue to bloom in May, after an April that rained down increases in borrowing costs.

Rates are heading toward their best levels of 2019, which means you can get solid savings — and that’s whether you’re a homebuyer who’s house-shopping or a homeowner who’s thinking about refinancing.

This week’s numbers

The average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages has dipped to 4.10%, from last week’s 4.14%, reports mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

Rates are a real bargain compared to a year ago, when the benchmark mortgage rate was averaging 4.55%. The loans in Freddie Mac’s survey come with an average 0.5 point.

Meanwhile, this month’s falling rates have been accompanied by an increase in mortgage applications. They were up 2.7% last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association says.

Applications for loans to buy homes rose 4%, and refinance applications edged up 1%.

Take a look at today’s best mortgage rates where you live.

Why rates are doing what they’re doing

This week’s decline in mortgage rates is related to the rough week the financial markets have been having. Have you seen what’s been happening to the Dow? Interest rates have been dropping, too.

“Investors wary of the current economic situation due to ongoing trade disputes resorted to the bond market, causing the 10-year Treasury (bond) yield to decrease,” explains Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

But though your investments may be taking a beating, this week’s developments have been very helpful if you’ve got a home you want to sell or are looking to save on your mortgage.

“A combination of low mortgage rates, a strong job market and modest wage growth should spur homebuyer interest and also serve as an incentive for homeowners looking to refinance this spring,” Khater says.

Freddie Mac expects rates will stay fairly low. It recently cut its forecast for 2019 to an average 4.3% for a 30-year home loan, down from last year’s average of 4.6%.

Are you thinking about buying a house? Calculate what your monthly mortgage payment would be.

The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB) was unchanged in after-hours trading Thursday. Year-to-date, XHB has declined -8.81%, versus a 7.85% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

XHB currently has an ETF Daily News SMART Grade of C (Neutral), and is ranked #32 of 41 ETFs in the Consumer-Focused ETFs category.

This article is brought to you courtesy of Yahoo! Finance.