Average U.S. mortgage interest rates were flat for the week ending February 28, 2019, but were lower than the same week last year, according to Freddie Mac's weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan averaged 4.35 percent, with an average 0.5 point, unchanged from the previous week. A year ago, the 30-year note averaged 4.43 percent.
Average mortgage loan interest rates had declined for three consecutive weeks before this past week. Lower rates sparked interest from homebuyers. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported February 27, 2019, that purchase mortgage applications increased by 6 percent compared to the previous week.
"The general decline in rates we have seen recently, combined with rebounding pending home sales [nationally], hint at a strong spring home-buying season," Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said.
The 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan averaged 3.77 percent, with an average 0.5 point, compared to 3.78 percent the previous week and 3.90 percent during the same week in 2018.
The five-year, adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loan averaged 3.84 percent, with an average 0.3 point, unchanged from the previous week. The five-year ARM averaged 3.62 percent last year.
Massachusetts first-time homebuyers should not focus on interest rates only but should investigate the various first-time homebuyer mortgage programs available. These loans offer a variety of benefits, including low down payments, down payment assistance, and competitive, fixed-rate terms. In most cases, income limits apply; however, many homebuyers are surprised by how much money they can earn and still qualify.