30-year mortgage rate hits record low

Average rate of America’s most popular home loan drops to 2.98%

The 2.98 percent is the lowest Freddie Mac has seen in nearly 50 years of tracking (iStock)
The 2.98 percent is the lowest Freddie Mac has seen in nearly 50 years of tracking (iStock)

The average rate on a 30-year mortgage, America’s most popular home loan, has fallen below 3 percent.

The 2.98 percent is the lowest Freddie Mac has seen in nearly 50 years of tracking. It’s the third consecutive week of decline and the seventh record-low set this year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Rates last hit a record low of 3.07 percent on July 7. Jeff Tucker, an economist at Zillow, told the Journal that falling below the 3 percent benchmark indicates that “we remain in a crisis here.”

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But not all mortgage rates are experiencing the same pace of decline. Jumbo loans — those roughly $510,400 in most markets and $765,500 in New York City and parts of California — have only fallen to 3.77 percent from 3.84 percent at the start of 2020, according to the Journal.

The low rates could propel the housing market. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly purchase index is up 15 percent year over year, which the group attributes to falling mortgage rates.

The record low for the 30-year mortgage set Thursday should not come as a surprise. Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater said earlier this month that a dip below 3 percent was a “distinct possibility” as “mortgage rates continue to slowly drift downward.” [WSJ] — Danielle Balbi