Mortgage rates dip below 4 percent, refinancing surges

In this photo taken Sunday, May 16 2010, a sign announces a residential home has sold is in the Boston suburb of Concord, Mass. Home sales surpassed expectations for April as government incentives provided a temporary boost to the housing market.(AP Photo/Bill Sikes)(ASSOCIATED PRESS/Bill Sikes)
WASHINGTON — Angst over rising mortgage rates appears to be overdone, at least in the near term, as the average rate on 30-year mortgages fell below 4 percent again this week.

Freddie Mac reported that a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.95 percent in the week ending May 25, down from 4.02 percent the previous week.

Average 30-year rates are now at the lowest level of the year.

A year ago, such mortgages averaged 3.64 percent.

A 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.19 percent this week, down from 3.27 percent. A five-year, adjustable rate mortgage — an increasingly popular choice for borrowers — averaged 3.07 percent, down from 3.13 percent.

“As we predicted, the 30-year mortgage rate fell 7 basis points this week in a delayed reaction to last week’s sharp drop in Treasury yields,” Freddie Mac chief economist Sean Becketti said.

Lower rates are drawing existing homeowners, who are looking for a better mortgage, back into the market.

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that mortgage applications rose 4.4 percent last week — led by an 11 percent increase in refinancing applications, the highest level since March.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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