Mortgage Rates Recede Slightly, Home Prices Increase

  • Posted at 12:14, December 24, 2013
  • By Quidnunc Staff

Mortgage interest rates fell one-tenth of one percent last month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which also reported this morning that home prices rose for the 21st consecutive month.

According to this morning's report, the "National Average Contract Mortgage Rate for the Purchase of Previously Occupied Homes by Combined Lenders index" was 4.21% for loans closed in late November.

The rate on the composite of all mortgage loans was 4.22%, down 10 basis points from 4.32 in October.

The agency reports that the average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages of $417,000 or less was 4.48% in November, a decrease of 10 basis points, and the average loan amount for all loans was $264,900 in November, down $4,100.

Meantime, the Federal Housing Finance Agency also reported today that U.S. house prices rose half a percent on a seasonally adjusted basis in October from September, the 21st consecutive monthly rise in the index.  The measure focuses on purchase prices, using home sales price information from mortgages either sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, companies overseen by the agency. 

The report says that home prices rose 8.2% in October 2013 from the same month a year earlier. The price index is 8.8% below its April 2007 peak and about the same as it was in April 2005, the agency says. Its full set of house price data can be found HERE.

Bloomberg News reported this morning that new home sales exceeded its experts' forecasts, HERE.

Sales actually declined 2.1% in November, according to the report on U.S. Commerce Department figures, but the 464,000 annualized sales rate is down from October's revised 474,000 rate--which was the highest since July 2008. 

Bloomberg says that a median forecast of 75 economists it surveyed called for 440,000 home sales. Mortgage rates had been rising in the months surveyed, but Bloomberg's analysis notes that sales weren't deterred because of pent-up demand and the improving labor market.  The article is posted HERE.

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