The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage plunged seven basis points, the 15-year fixed rate fell six basis points and the 5/1 ARM fell one basis point, according to a NerdWallet survey of daily mortgage rates published by national lenders Wednesday.
The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage is six basis points lower than one week ago, and 31 basis points lower than one year ago. A basis point is one one-hundredth of one percent.
The drop in mortgage rates happened on the same day as a report showing anemic wage growth, which implies lower inflation and therefore little upward pressure on interest rates. The Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles a quarterly stat called “unit labor costs” that measures the bang for the buck that employers get when they pay workers. When employees become more productive, but their wages don’t keep up, their employers take a bigger slice of the economic pie than the workers. In the language of the BLS, unit labor costs go down.
In the third quarter of this year, American workers’ productivity went up faster than wages. Unit labor costs fell at an annual rate of 0.2% in the third quarter, according to the BLS. And unit labor costs fell 0.7% in the last four quarters.
With workers unable to demand full compensation for their productivity increases, there is little to lift the inflation rate higher. That’s reflected in lower mortgage rates.
MORTGAGE RATES TODAY, WEDNESDAY, DEC. 6:
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.