Mortgage rates slip back below the 3% mark

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Mortgage rates fell 2 basis points this week, remaining near their historic lows as they have for the past month with the markets roiled by uncertainty, according to Freddie Mac.

"It's Groundhog Day in the mortgage market as rates continue to remain near historic lows, driving purchase demand over 20% above a year ago," Sam Khater, Freddie Mac's chief economist, said in a press release. "Real estate is one of the bright spots in the economy, with strong demand and modest slowdown in home prices heading into the late summer. Home sales should remain strong the next few months into the early fall."

Rates remained in the narrow window they've existed in for the better part of July, Matthew Speakman, an economist with Zillow, said in a statement accompanying its rate tracker.

"As has been the case for the last few weeks, investors appear poised to stay in a holding pattern that will keep rates generally steady until any meaningful developments emerge showing the economy's resistance to rising coronavirus case volumes, or the nation's ability to contain and treat the virus. Should significant, positive news surface on either of those fronts, mortgage rates would likely move higher, possibly quickly," Speakman said.

"On the flip side, bad news on either topic will continue to place downward pressure on rates, but it's likely that this pressure won't drop rates much lower than they are today. As we've seen in recent weeks, the market isn't eager to move rates much lower than their current levels, in part because these historically low rates have prompted a steady stream of business that could be tapping out many lenders' capacity to field loan requests."

According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.99% for the week ending July 30, down slightly from 3.01%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.75%.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.51%, down from last week when it averaged 2.54%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.2%.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 2.94% with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.09%. A year ago at this time, the five-year adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.46%.

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