Rates Fall For A Fifth Week

Mortgage rates ticked down again, the fifth straight week of declines.

Officials at Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.27%, down from 6.28% the week prior.

A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 5%.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell from 5.64% to 5.54%. A year ago, it averaged 4.17%.

“Incoming data suggest inflation remains well above the desired level but showing signs of deceleration,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “These trends, coupled with tight labor markets, are creating increased optimism among prospective homebuyers as the housing market hits its peak in the spring and summer.”

First-time buyers particularly are feeling prepared to enter the market.

More than half of respondents to TD Bank’s First-Time Homebuyer Pulse say they are now better off financially than they were two years ago, and just under 40% think it’s a good time to buy regardless of broad affordability pressures.

These buyers are conscious of market pressures, and many are choosing to buy a fixer-upper or starter home, specifically looking for lower-priced properties. The majority feel that homeownership is a good long-term investment and showed signs of financial preparedness, such as saving for a down payment.

But consumer confidence remains low overall. Recent data from Fannie Mae shows that though consumers are feeling better about their job security and home selling conditions, most still believe it’s a bad time to buy.

Inventory remains scarce, so sellers can expect a handful of offers on new listings. Competition isn’t what it once was, and homes that sell now have to be priced accordingly.

“I advise sellers to price their homes appropriately from the start. Cutting your list price because you have overpriced your house can scare buyers off,” Laxmi Penupothula, a real estate agent in San Jose, CA, said.

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