Mortgage rates plummet to lowest levels in nearly 2 years

The 15-year fixed-rate average hit 3.28% this week, the lowest rate since September 2017

Mortgage rates are still falling (Credit: iStock)
Mortgage rates are still falling (Credit: iStock)

Mortgage rates fell for the sixth straight week, hitting their lowest point since September 2017.

The 30-year fixed-rate average slid to 3.82 percent and the 15-year rate hit 3.28 percent this week, according to new data from Freddie Mac reported in the Washington Post.

Rates have been on a steady decline since November, when they topped out near 5 percent and pushed mortgage applications to a four-year low.

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But lower rates prompted a surge in mortgage applications this week, with a 1.5 percent increase in the market composite index over last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Real estate stocks and homebuilder activity also have rebounded in concert with the lower rates.

Mortgage rates are bound to the U.S. bond market, where investors steadily bid up the prices of Treasury notes this spring. President Donald Trump’s Friday announcement he would raise tariffs on Mexican goods gave buyers yet another reason to shift their money from stocks to bonds, one analyst said.

But observers said mortgage rates could rise again if Friday’s employment report kicks off a stock market rally. [Washington Post]Alex Nitkin