HSH.com Weekly Mortgage Rates Radar: Awaiting Fed, Mortgage Rates Edge Lower This Week

HSH.com releases its latest Weekly Mortgage Rates Radar showing a slight downturn in mortgage rates during the seven-day period ending March 17, as financial markets await clarity from the Federal Reserve on interest-rate policy. The Weekly Mortgage Rates Radar reports the average rates and points offered by lenders for the two most popular types of mortgages, the conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and the conforming 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).

FOSTER CITY, CA, CALIF., March 18, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rates on the most popular types of mortgages edged lower, according to HSH.com's Weekly Mortgage Rates Radar. The average rate for conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by three basis points (0.03 percent) to 3.89 percent. Conforming 5/1 Hybrid ARM rates decreased by two basis points, closing the Wednesday-to-Tuesday wraparound weekly survey at an average of 3.10 percent.

"Mortgage rates have been fairly volatile in the past few weeks, driven by stronger or weaker economic reports," said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com. "The Federal Reserve has made it pretty clear that the economy's behavior and especially that of labor markets and inflation will be the key factors in deciding just when to start to raise short-term interest rates. However, with the data of late as mixed as the Fed's message about the timing of any change, interest rates have become less settled."

Reports covering the labor market continue to suggest a strengthening economy. Hiring has averaged over 200,000 new jobs created per month for the past year and the unemployment rate has declined to 5.5 percent, at the top of the range the Fed considers "full employment". Inflation has been soft, though, with price pressures kept in check by weak wage gains, low energy prices and declining imported good costs. Stronger labor markets argue for the Fed to change policy sooner, while soft prices indicate they can stay the course for a while longer.

"If the decision to change rates is based on data, and the data is seemingly contradictory, it's little wonder rates have become more erratic," adds Gumbinger. "Although it probably won't, we hope that the Fed's message at the close of Wednesday's meeting will provide some additional clarity as to timing of the first change to rates; that said, the updated economic projections due out at the same time may reveal more clues as to the likely date of "liftoff" for interest rates. Without better clarity, volatility for rates is likely to continue."

Average mortgage rates and points for conforming residential mortgages for the week ending March 17, according to HSH.com:
Conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage
-Average Rate:   3.89 percent
-Average Points: 0.15
Conforming 5/1-year adjustable-rate mortgage
-Average Rate:   3.10 percent
-Average Points: 0.08
Average mortgage rates and points for conforming residential mortgages for the previous week ending March 10 were, according to HSH.com:
Conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage
-Average Rate:   3.92 percent
-Average Points: 0.14
Conforming 5/1-year adjustable-rate mortgage
-Average Rate:   3.12 percent
-Average Points: 0.05


The Weekly Mortgage Rates Radar reports the average rates and points offered on conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and conforming 5/1 ARMs. The weekly mortgage rate survey covers a large sample of mortgage lenders and is conducted over a Wednesday-to-Tuesday cycle, with data released every Wednesday. HSH.com's survey helps consumers find the best rates on home loans in changing market conditions. Unlike mortgage rate surveys that report average rates only, the Weekly Mortgage Rates Radar's inclusion of both average rates and average points provides a more accurate view of mortgage terms currently offered by lenders.

Every week, HSH.com conducts a survey of mortgage rate data for a wide range of consumer mortgage products including ARMs, FHA-backed and jumbo mortgages, as well as home equity loans and lines of credit from hundreds of direct lenders in the U.S. For information on additional loan products, visit HSH.com.

About HSH.com

HSH.com is a trusted source of mortgage data, trends, news and analysis. Since 1979, HSH's market research and commentary has helped homeowners, buyers and sellers make smart financial choices and save money on mortgage and home equity products. HSH.com, of Riverdale, N.J., is owned and operated by QuinStreet, Inc. (Nasdaq:QNST), one of the largest Internet marketing and media companies in the world. QuinStreet is committed to providing consumers and businesses with the information they need to research, find and select the products, services and brands that best meet their needs. The company is a leader in ethical marketing practices. For more information, please visit QuinStreet.com.

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