WASHINGTON (8/22/14)--Several firms that track U.S. mortgage interest rates all reported this week that rates are sliding, with many relaying that mortgage rates have hit their low points for 2014.
The 30-year fixed mortgage rate listed by Bankrate.com fell to 4.24%, which is a 14-month low, while the 30-year fixed rate from the Mortgage Bankers Association's mortgage applications survey recorded a 6 basis-point drop to 4.29% (Economy.com Aug. 20).
Freddie Mac recorded a 4.10% rate for 30-year fixed rates, also a low for the year and down from 4.58% at this time last year (Housingwire.com Aug. 21).
"Muted inflation readings and ongoing tensions in hotspots around the globe helped fuel demand for bonds, pushing mortgage rates lower," Bankrate.com said. "Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds. Any time there is a reason for nervousness among investors, their movement into the perceived safe haven of bonds is good news for mortgage rates."
The average 15-year fixed mortgage rate edged down to 3.37%, according to Bankrate's numbers, while the jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropped to 4.29%. Freddie Mac and MBA reported declining rates for those mortgage types as well.
In addition to lower mortgage rates, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday that existing home sales sped up in July.
Sales climbed 2.4% for the month to 5.15 million annualized units, the first time since the fall of last year that sales have exceeded the 5.1 million mark (Economy.com Aug. 21).
Further, single-family sales led the way over condominium sales, although overall sales still sit 4.3% below numbers seen this time last year.
Home-price appreciation also has started to pick up again, Moody's reported, with the median existing-home price climbing 4.9% in July after a slowdown in June.