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Mortgage Rates Today, Friday, Dec. 9: Without Direction; Homeowners Gain $12,500 Average Annual Equity

Dec. 9, 2016
Mortgage Rates, Mortgages
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Thirty-year fixed rates were slightly higher, 15-year fixed mortgages moved down a notch, and 5/1 ARM rates rose just a bit Friday, according to a NerdWallet survey of mortgage rates published by national lenders this morning.

Mortgage rates are having difficulty finding direction as lenders simply fine-tune their pricing. That might change next week, when the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to hike short-term interest rates by a quarter point (0.25%). However, the move has been so widely expected that the immediate impact on mortgage rates could be minimal.

Mortgage Rates Today,
Friday, Dec. 9

(Change from 12/8)
30-year fixed: 4.31% APR (+0.01)
15-year fixed: 3.69% APR (-0.01)
5/1 ARM: 3.78% APR (+0.01)

Average annual home equity gain tops $12,500

Owning a home has traditionally come with an invisible benefit: wealth building through appreciation. While the housing crisis put that return on hold for many Americans, it’s slowly making a comeback.

CoreLogic, the real estate analytics firm, says that U.S. homeowners with mortgages — about 63% of all homeowners — gained $227 billion in home equity in the third quarter of 2016. That’s up more than 3% from the previous quarter and a 10.8% increase year-over-year.

» MORE: The pros and cons of home equity lines of credit

Home equity rose by $12,500 for the average homeowner over the last four quarters,” Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic, said in a release. “There was wide geographic variation, with homeowners in California, Oregon and Washington gaining an average of at least $25,000 in home equity wealth, while owners in Alaska, North Dakota and Connecticut had small declines, on average.”

Rising home values and the payment of loan principal combine to build home equity. Home prices were up 5.8% for the year ending Sept. 2016, according to CoreLogic.

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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Hal Bundrick is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @halmbundrick.