Mortgage Rates Today, Friday, Aug. 26: Small Changes, Fed Eyes Higher Rates

Mortgage Rates, Mortgages
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Mortgage Rates Today, Friday, Aug. 26: Few Changes, Fed Eyes Higher Rates

Thirty-year fixed mortgages inched up, 15-year fixed mortgages remained unchanged, while 5/1 ARM home loan rates dropped minimally on Friday, according to a NerdWallet survey of mortgage rates published by national lenders this morning.

In fact, rates have remained largely unchanged in the past month, giving potential homebuyers and homeowners a prime opportunity to get an affordable loan. As we enter the traditionally slower home-selling months, though, it’s more likely that home sales might continue to drop as they did in July.

Will Fed hike rates?

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Friday said that positive movement in the economy might lead to federal funds rate increases soon.

“In light of the continued solid performance of the labor market and our outlook for economic activity and inflation, I believe the case for an increase in the federal funds rate has strengthened in recent months,” Yellen said in a prepared speech at the Fed’s annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Yellen made a case for the Fed’s ability to head off future economic downturns by using the financial policies in its toolkit, but she also acknowledged that economic growth has been tepid.

“Smoothing through the monthly ups and downs, job gains averaged 190,000 per month over the past three months,” Yellen said. “Although the unemployment rate has remained fairly steady this year, near 5%, broader measures of labor utilization have improved. Inflation has continued to run below the [Federal Open Market Committee’s] objective of 2 percent, reflecting in part the transitory effects of earlier declines in energy and import prices.”

As we’ve seen when the Fed hiked rates last December, the immediate impact on mortgage rates will likely be minimal.

The NerdWallet Mortgage Rate Index compiles annual percentage rates — lender interest rates plus fees, the most accurate way for consumers to compare rates. Here are today’s average rates for the most popular loan terms:

Mortgage Rates: Aug. 26, 2016

(Change from 8/25)

30-year fixed: 3.62% APR (+0.02)

15-year fixed: 3.05% APR (NC)

5/1 ARM: 3.5% APR (-0.01)

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

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

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