Mortgage Rates Friday, March 17: Slight Change; Modest Economic Growth in 2017

Mortgage Rates, Mortgages
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Mortgage rates today for 30-year fixed rates inched up by one basis point, while rates for 15-year loans and 5/1 ARMs dropped slightly, according to a NerdWallet survey of mortgage rates published by national lenders on Friday morning.

Fannie Mae’s ‘conservative’ economic forecast 

The economy is predicted to grow by a “conservative” 2% this year, according to the Fannie Mae Economic & Strategic Research Group’s Economic and Housing Outlook for March. The 2% forecast is unchanged from February’s projection.

Despite the uncertainty about the Trump administration’s economic and fiscal policies, the ESR Group reports that sentiment from both consumers and homebuilders is the highest it has been in quite some time. While consumer spending has been off to a sluggish start, growth in household net worth and strong employment numbers will boost consumer spending in the remaining months of the year which will drive economic growth, Fannie Mae reported in a news release.

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How much home can you afford?

Following the Federal Reserve’s increase to short-term interest rates on Wednesday, Fannie Mae said it expects two more rate hikes later this year. Despite that news, home sales are expected to increase in 2017 in the face of rising home prices and a shortage of inventory, said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist, in a news release.

“Tight inventory remains a boon to home prices and Americans’ net worth, but it also continues to price out many would-be first-time homebuyers,” Duncan said. “However, our research suggests that aging millennials, now boasting higher real wages, are beginning to narrow the homeownership attainment gap.”

Homeowners looking to lower their mortgage rate can shop for refinance lenders here.

NerdWallet daily mortgage rates are an average of the published annual percentage rate with the lowest points for each loan term offered by a sampling of major national lenders. APR quotes reflect an interest rate plus points, fees and other expenses, providing the most accurate view of the costs a borrower might pay.

Deborah Kearns is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: dkearns@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @debbie_kearns.

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