Many factors influenced mortgage rates this week — the Federal Reserve minutes, U.S. Treasury auction and encouraging economic data in retail sales and home builder sentiment.
But nothing had more of an impact than last week’s decision by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, at least according to mortgage lenders.
The 30-year fixed-rate average moved higher for the second week in a row but remained below 3 percent. It was 2.99 percent with an average 0.8 point, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount and are in addition to the interest rate.) It was 2.96 percent a week ago and 3.55 percent a year ago.
Freddie Mac, the federally chartered mortgage investor, aggregates rates from around 80 lenders across the country to come up with weekly national average mortgage rates. It uses rates for high-quality borrowers who tend to have strong credit scores and large down payments. These rates are not available to every borrower.