Rates Down Slightly, Fluctuating Within 6% Range

Mortgage rates dipped again last week, continuing to fluctuate within the 6% range.

Officials at Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.35%, down from 6.39% the week prior.

A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 5.30%.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased as well, to 5.75% from 5.76%. A year ago, it averaged 4.48%.

“This week’s decrease continues a recent sideways trend in mortgage rates, which is a welcome departure from the record increases of last year,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist.

Khater noted that moderating inflation has weakened mortgage rate growth.

Both the consumer price and producer price indices, released this week, showed better-than-expected results. The CPI’s shelter cost component rose by 0.4%, the smallest increase in more than a year.

“While the April CPI report isn’t exactly reassuring, it also won’t jolt Fed officials into signaling another rate hike in June, given their expectation that the full disinflationary impact from tighter credit conditions has yet to show up,” economists Anna Wong and Jonathan Church wrote in a note.

With the Federal Reserve hinting at a rate hike pause coming at its June meeting, analysts expect inflation to hover around these numbers for a few months before declining further toward the end of 2023.

“This should bode well for the trajectory of mortgage rates over time,” Khater said.

Home sales remain suppressed as stock shortages create competition for just a handful of homes. But buyers are still active this spring shopping season, on a level commensurate with the low inventory available.

“This spring’s housing market is hot but cold, with scant listings making it less active than usual but fast and competitive at the same time. The good news is that buyers are out there, trying to find a seat in a game of musical chairs. The bad news is there aren’t enough chairs,” Redfin Deputy Chief Economist Taylor Marr said of the trend.

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