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Mortgage Interest Rates Forecast

Dec. 5, 2019
Mortgage Rates, Mortgages
Mortgage Interest Rates Forecast-story
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December mortgage rates forecast

Mortgage rates have hovered around 4% APR for most of the second half of the year, according to NerdWallet’s daily rate survey. Rates are likely to remain steady through December, rarely straying one-eighth of a percentage point on either side of 4% APR.

Why: The economy has been meeting investors’ expectations. There haven’t been many surprises when economic reports have rolled around, and in the absence of surprises, there’s not much oomph for mortgage rates to move in either direction.

There was one surprise toward the end of November: The U.S. Census Bureau reported that new home sales in October were stronger than expected, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 733,000. That was the second-highest pace of new home sales since July 2007. If December’s economic reports point to an economy heating up, then mortgage rates could edge higher sometime during the month.

The Federal Reserve’s rate-setting committee meets Dec. 10 and 11 and is expected to leave short-term interest rates alone.

» MORE: How the Fed affects mortgage rates

Nerdy tip: With mortgage rates so low, there’s more room for them to move up than down. Anytime you can snag a mortgage rate around 4%, you’re doing well. (For perspective, mortgage rates were constantly in double digits from November 1978 to March 1986.) If a lender quotes you an interest rate that you can accept, lean toward locking the rate, so you won’t have to worry about rates increasing.

» MORE: How are mortgage rates determined?

What are the current mortgage rates today?

On Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage jumped seven basis points to 4.02%, the rate on the 15-year fixed climbed nine basis points to 3.57% and the rate on the 5/1 ARM rose six basis points to 4.22%, according to a NerdWallet survey of mortgage rates published daily by national lenders. A basis point is one one-hundredth of one percent. Rates are expressed as annual percentage rate, or APR. The average rate on the 30-year fixed is three basis points higher than Nov. 27.

» MORE: Compare top mortgage lenders

Mortgage rates this week

Mortgage rates stood still the short holiday week of Nov. 25-27, with the 30-year fixed averaging 3.99% APR, according to NerdWallet’s daily survey of mortgage rates published by national lenders. The previous week ending Nov. 22, the 30-year fixed averaged 3.98% APR.

In November, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.99%, compared with the average of 4.04% in September and October. That’s not much of a change, and when mortgage rates remain at a standstill for a long time, it usually takes something big to push them in one direction or the other. The next opportunity for such a push comes the morning of Dec. 6, when the November employment report is released. Ask your loan officer if it’s wise to lock a rate before the jobs report comes out, or if it’s OK to roll the dice and float.

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