Mortgage interest rates hit an all-time low for the week ending March 5, 2020, according to Freddie Mac's weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan averaged the lowest interest rate since Freddie Mac began its weekly survey in 1971. "The average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage hit ... the lowest level in its nearly 50-year history," said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac's chief economist. Mortgage interest rates are more than 110 basis points lower than a year ago.
The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan averaged 3.29 percent, with an average 0.7 point, compared to 3.45 percent the previous week. The 30-note averaged 4.41 percent during the same week last year.
The 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan, a popular choice for refinancing, averaged 2.79 percent, with an average 0.7 point, down from 2.95 percent the week before. A year ago, the 15-year loan averaged 3.83 percent.
The five-year, adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loan averaged 3.18 percent, with an average 0.2 point. For the vast majority of first-time homebuyers, a fixed-rate mortgage loan is a better option.
Turmoil in the stock market due to coronavirus fears has caused a dramatic decline in interest rates over the past couple of weeks. While historically low interest rates are welcome news for homebuyers, the bad news is that Massachusetts has not ever experienced such a limited amount of real estate inventory.
The number of single-family homes in Massachusetts for sale declined nearly 35 percent in January compared to January 2019, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors (MAR) reported February 26, 2020. Condominium inventory fell just over 26 percent in January on a year-over-year basis.
In the last 96 months, single-family inventory has decreased 95 times on a year-over-year basis. January 2020 saw the fewest number of houses (7,939) and condos (3,000) for sale of any January since MAR began compiling such data in 2004.