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The most memorable moment in the history of every NFL franchise 7 signs youre a bad partner even if you think you arent Home prices continued to heat up in April © Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg  

Home prices continued to strengthen in April, despite a national economic shutdown and a sharp drop in home sales due to the coronavirus.

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Prices for existing homes rose 4.7% compared with April 2019, and up from 4.6% in the previous month, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index. Price gains have been accelerating since last fall.

The 10-City Composite rose 3.4% annually, which was unchanged from March. The 20-City Composite increased 4% year-over-year, up from 3.9% in the previous month. Detroit continues to be excluded from 20-City Composite, due to price reporting issues caused by the pandemic.

Cities with the strongest annual price gains were Phoenix, Seattle and Minneapolis. They reported increases of  8.8%, 7.3% and 6.4% respectively. Twelve of the 19 cities reported higher price increases in the year ending April 2020 versus the year ending March 2020.

"April's housing price data continue to be remarkably stable," says Craig J. Lazzara, Managing Director and Global Head of Index Investment Strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "The price trend that was in place pre-pandemic seems so far to be undisturbed, at least at the national level."

Record low mortgage rates have been giving buyers more purchasing power, thereby helping to keep prices strong. The average rate on the popular 30-year fixed mortgage, however, did jump briefly in March, which would have factored into April closed sales. Rates have since pulled back.

Sales of existing homes dropped to the slowest pace in a decade in April, according to the National Association of Realtors, as open houses were shuttered and the entire house hunting process went online. Not only did buyers pull back, but sellers either waited to list their homes or those already on the market pulled their listings. 

But home sales have rebounded quickly and dramatically, with signed contracts on existing homes in May making the strongest monthly jump since the Realtors began tracking the metric in 2001. The supply of homes for sale continues drop, even as new listings now come on the market. Demand is incredibly strong, suggesting that prices will only get hotter in the coming months. 

"As states and businesses continue expanding activity, home buyers are showing increasing interest in purchasing homes, particularly those looking to take advantage of enticingly low mortgage rates," said George Ratiu, senior economist at realtor.com. "However, extremely scarce inventory, tight mortgage underwriting and high unemployment continue to be the main challenges for many buyers. The latest weekly housing data shows national inventory is on a steep downward trend."

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Refinance Interest Rates Today, July 3, 2020 | Rates fall

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Multiple benchmark mortgage refinance rates sunk lower today.

© Provided by Bankrate Shutterstock.com

The average rates for 30-year fixed and 15-year fixed refinances both decreased. Meanwhile, the average rate on 10-year fixed refis also ticked downward.

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Rates for refinancing are in a constant state of flux, but they remain much lower overall than they were before the Great Recession. If you’re in the market to refinance, it may be a great time to lock in a rate.

See refinance rates for a variety of loan options here.

30-year fixed refinance

The average 30-year fixed-refinance rate is 3.34 percent, down 2 basis points from a week ago. A month ago, the average rate on a 30-year fixed refinance was higher, at 3.58 percent.

At the current average rate, you’ll pay $440.16 per month in principal and interest for every $100,000 you borrow. That’s $1.11 lower, compared with last week.

You can use Bankrate’s mortgage calculator to figure out your monthly payments and find out how much you’ll save by adding extra payments. It will also help you calculate how much interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan.

15-year fixed refinance

The average rate for a 15-year fixed refi is 2.80 percent, down 7 basis points from a week ago.

Monthly payments on a 15-year fixed refinance at that rate will cost around $679 per $100,000 borrowed. The bigger payment may be a little harder to find room for in your monthly budget than a 30-year mortgage payment would, but it comes with some big advantages: You’ll save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan in total interest paid and build equity much more quickly.

10-year fixed refinance

The average rate for a 10-year fixed-refinance loan is 2.86 percent, down 6 basis points from a week ago.

Monthly payments on a 10-year fixed-rate refi at 2.86 percent would cost $961.92 per month for every $100,000 you borrow. That’s a lot more than the monthly payment on even a 15-year refinance, but in return you’ll pay even less in interest than you would with a 15-year term.

Where rates are headed

To see where Bankrate’s panel of experts expect rates to go from here, check out our Rate Trend Index.

Want to see where rates are right now? Lenders nationwide respond to Bankrate^aEURTMs weekday mortgage rates survey to bring you the most current rates available. Here you can see the latest marketplace average rates for a wide variety of purchase loans:

Average refinance interest rates Product Rate Last week Change
30-year fixed refi 3.34% 3.36% -0.02
15-year fixed refi 2.80% 2.87% -0.07
10-year fixed refi 2.86% 2.92% -0.06

Rates as of July 2, 2020.

Want to see where rates are right now? See refinance rates for a variety of loan options here.

Lock your refi rate? How to decide

A rate lock allows you to freeze the interest rate your lender extends to you for a specified period of time. Between the time you apply for a mortgage refinance and close on it, the rate lock will protect you from rising rates.

What causes mortgage rates to change

Economic factors such as inflation and unemployment can impact refinance rates. Generally, higher inflation leads to higher interest rates. The opposite is true; lower inflation typically leads to lower refinance rates. The dollar loses value when inflation rises. That, in turn, drives investors away from mortgage-backed securities (MBS), causing the prices to decrease and yields to increase. When yields move higher, refinance rates get more expensive.

People typically buy more homes when the economy is strong, driving demand for mortgages. Increased demand can cause an increase in rates. Less demand can lead to lower rates.

Current refinance rate landscape

The current mortgage rate environment has been unstable because of the coronavirus pandemic, but generally rates have been low. Mortgage rates are rising and falling from week to week, as lenders are inundated with forbearance and refinance requests. In general, however, rates are consistently below 4 percent and even dipping into the mid to low 3s. This is an especially good time for people with good to excellent credit to lock in a low rate for a purchase loan. However, lenders are also raising credit standards for borrowers and demanding higher down payments as they try to dampen their risks.

Methodology: The rates you see above are Bankrate.com Site Averages. These calculations are run after the close of the previous business day and include rates and/or yields we have collected that day for a specific banking product. Bankrate.com site averages tend to be volatile — they help consumers see the movement of rates day to day. The institutions included in the “Bankrate.com Site Average” tables will be different from one day to the next, depending on which institutions’ rates we gather on a particular day for presentation on the site.

To learn more about the different rate averages Bankrate publishes, see “Understanding Bankrate’s Rate Averages.”

See rates for a variety of loan types Product Purchase Rates Refinance Rates
The index above links out to loan-specific content to help you learn more about rates by loan type.
30-Year Loan Current 30 Year Mortgage Rates 30-Year Refinance Rates
20-Year Loan 20-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates 20-Year Refi Rates
15-Year Loan 15 Year Fixed Mortgage Rates 15-Year Mortgage Refinance Rates
10-Year Loan 10-Year Mortgage Interest Rates Current 10-Year Refinance Rates
FHA Loan FHA Mortgage Loan Rates FHA Mortgage Refi Rates
VA Loan VA Loan Interest Rates VA Refinance Rates
ARM Loan ARM Mortgage Rates Current ARM Refinance Rates
Jumbo Loan Jumbo Mortgage Rates Jumbo Refinance Rates
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