Freddie Mac surveys lenders weekly and publishes average mortgage rates for the previous week every Thursday. Today they’ve published rates which show a year-to-date low: 30 year mortgage originations are down to 3.78% (with 50bp points/fees), 15 year mortgages are down to 3.08% and 5/1 ARMs are down to 3.15%.
These aren’t quite historic lows — rates were actually lower for about half of 2016 (from Feb to Oct). But they’re close. (The record low over the last 40+ years was hit at the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013 — 30 year mortgages reached as low as 3.31% –and, again, that’s an average — some folks were locking in 3.25% or less). But these are close to the historic lows.
If you’ve got a mortgage with a rate higher than 4.5%, or a floating-rate note which may reset to a higher rate, it may be a good time to consider refinancing and locking in one of these amazing fixed rates.
For whatever reason, a certain loan originator has been plastering the internet with ads pushing folks into 15 year mortgages, but we encourage folks to consider carefully what makes best sense for them. While the 15 year will have a lower rate, a 30 year will have lower payments and lock in today’s rate for the very long-term, so we actually still recommend that many folks use 30 year mortgages anyway. The slightly higher rate comes with much greater flexibility for managing your cash-flow.
Mortgage refinancing is only one part of a much larger financial plan, and your situation is unique. Make sure to take all the factors into consideration. But whatever the case may be, if you’ve got a higher rate, or haven’t had a financial planning conversation, it’s time!
(Graph directly from Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey at http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms/ We highly recommend visiting their site and learning more about rates!)