There is at least one bright spot for home buyers, sellers, and owners amid the economic mayhem brought on by the novel coronavirus. Mortgage interest rates have fallen to a new record low, a boon to homeowners who may want to refinance and save money, and buyers (if anyone feels like buying a home right now).
Rates have been on a wild ride since this crisis began, and the average for a 30-year fixed-rate hit 3.23% for the week ending April 30, according to Freddie Mac. That’s the lowest it’s been since Freddie Mac began tracking rates in 1971. The average rate was 4.14% a year ago.
The drop may not seem all that substantial, as it’s not even a full percentage point. But the lower rate will save borrowers $132 a month for a $320,000 home (the national median home price) if they made a 20% down payment. That’s $1,584 a year—which adds up over the life of that 30-year loan.
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage continued to hover near historical lows this week, lowering borrowing costs for home buyers and refinancing homeowners.
Freddie Mac reported that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.60% this week, unchanged from last week’s average. “The sound and fury of the financial markets continue to warn of an impending recession; however, the silver lining is mortgage demand reached a three-year high this week,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.
“The decline in mortgage rates over the last month is causing a spike in refinancing activity—as homeowners currently have $2 trillion in conventional mortgage loans that are in the money—which will help support consumer balance sheets and increase household cash flow. On top of that, purchase demand is up 7% from a year ago.”