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Mortgage Rates Today, Thursday, Aug. 18: Mirroring Calm Bond Market

Aug. 18, 2016
Mortgage Rates, Mortgages
Mortgage Rates Today, Thursday, Aug. 18: Mirroring Calm Bond Market
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Thirty-year fixed mortgage rates ticked down Thursday, while 15-year fixed mortgages moved up a notch and 5/1 ARM rates inched lower, according to a NerdWallet survey of mortgage rates published by national lenders this morning.

Since mid-July, 30-year and 15-year fixed mortgage rates have been substantially range-bound, while 5/1 ARMs have crept incrementally higher.

Mortgage rates swimming in calm waters

The bond market has been docile lately, and mortgage rates have moved sideways as a result. The publication of the minutes yesterday of the last Federal Reserve meeting did nothing to upset the calm.

“For eight consecutive weeks, mortgage rates have ranged between 3.41% and 3.48%,” Sean Becketti, chief economist for Freddie Mac, said in a news release. “Inflation is not adding any upward pressure on interest rates, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Consumer Price Index was unchanged in July.”

And yet, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of analysts now wondering if the Fed may be poised to hike short-term interest rates at next month’s meeting.

“The positive July jobs report may encourage some Federal Open Market Committee members to argue for a Fed rate hike at the September meeting,” Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae chief economist, said in a release. “However, we remain convinced that the Fed will hold the target rate steady this year given global uncertainties and anemic output growth. Although much of the financial volatility from Brexit has subsided, long-term Treasury yields continue to face downward pressure, and we expect them to remain low for some time.”

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. 18, 2016

(Change from 8/17)

30-year fixed: 3.62% APR (-0.01)

15-year fixed: 3.03% APR (+0.01)

5/1 ARM: 3.49% 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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Hal Bundrick is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @halmbundrick.