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What You Need to Know About Current Mortgage Rate Trends

Today's Mortgage Rates

Who Determines Interest Rates?

Interest rates are typically determined by a central bank in most countries. In the United States, a forum is held once per month for eight months out of the year to determine interest rates. At this time, the economic status of the country is assessed, and interest rates are adjusted according to the needs of the country. The panel that determines interest rates consists of representatives of the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Bank. Together, the representatives from both form the Federal Open Market Committee.

What is the Federal Reserve?

The Federal Reserve monitors and sets standards for monetary policy in the United States. There are 12 Federal Reserve Banks located in major cities around the country. Although the Federal Reserve undergoes reviews by Congress, the organization is an independent entity. Therefore, they do not need the President’s approval or any other branch of government before making decisions about the economy.

There are seven members of the board. Each member is appointed by the President to the Board of Governors and serves 14 years. They can be reelected. The board is headed by a President and Vice President. Each can hold office for 4 years and can be reappointed by the Senate. Janet Yellen currently serves this role and is the successor to Ben Bernake. Alan Greenspan held the position prior to him.

The Federal Reserve monitors and generates income from several entities. They earn dividends on foreign currency, loan interest collected, services, and interest from government securities. If the Federal Reserve posts a profit above and beyond its operating costs, then those funds are redirected to the U.S. Treasury.

How Are Interest Rates Determined?

The goal of each monthly meeting is to determine the liquidity of funds within the country and establish prices that will keep the economy stable. If the circulation of money within the country is abundant, the prices will increase. If the circulation of money within the country is minimal, the prices will decrease. The goal is to find a balance that will keep the economy stable and full employment. It is generally easier for central banks of core economies to fight inflation rather than deflation, so they typically target a moderate postive rate of consumer price inflation around 2%.

The central bank lends money to retail banks at a discount interest rate. The consumer in turn borrows from the retail banks. The interest rates or Prime Interest Rates are determined by the rates assigned by the central bank to the retail bank. The central bank will raise interest rates when they want to discourage consumer borrowing and encourage more deposits. The deposits contribute to the overall worth of the bank. When the consumer deposits money, the bank can lend this money to another party to generate income from interest collected. The central bank will lower interest rates when they want to encourage consumer borrowing and increase spending.

Typically the Federal Reserve sets short term interest rates and longer dated Treasury bonds trade at a premium to those rates to reflect the duration and inflation risks. The 30-year mortgage typically trades at a slight premium above the 10-year treasury. The reason the longer duration mortgage rates are based on the shorter duration trasury rate is most homeowners tend to move or refinance roughly every 5 to 7 years.

Where is the Market Headed?

Bull vs Bear Economist Predictions.

Expert economists predicted the economy would rebound in 2010. However, the economy was sluggish with slow growth rates for many years beyond that. The economy contracted in the first quarter of 2014, but in the second half of 2014 economic growth picked up. The Federal Reserve tapered their quantitative easing asset purchase program & the price of oil fell sharply. Consumer perception of inflation and inflation expectations are set largely by the price they pay at the pump when they refill their gas. With growth picking up the consensus view is interest rates will continue to head higher for the next couple years into 2020, or until a recession happens. The following table highlights 2018 rate predictions from influential organizations in the real estate & mortgage markets.

2018 30-year Fixed Mortgage Rate Predictions

Organization Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Average
Mortgage Banker's Association 4.3% 4.6% 4.7% 4.8% 4.6%
Fannie Mae 4.0% 4.1% 4.1% 4.2% 4.1%
Freddie Mac 4.1% 4.3% 4.4% 4.6% 4.35%
National Association of Realtors 4.2% 4.5%     4.5%
National Association of Home Builders       4.2%  
Zillow survey       4.5%  
CoreLogic       4.6%  

Table sources: MBA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, NAR, NAHB, CoreLogic

2019 30-year Fixed Mortgage Rate Predictions

Organization Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Average
Mortgage Banker's Association 4.9% 4.9% 5.0% 5.1% 4.95%
Fannie Mae 4.2% 4.2% 4.3% 4.3% 4.25%
National Association of Home Builders       4.67%  

Purchase vs Refinance

Most consumers obtaining mortgages to purchase a home opt for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. It completely dominates the purchase market.

Purchase Loans Only.

If one looks exclusively at purchases FRMs are about 90% of the market. 30-year loans are also a popular choice for refinancing homeowners, though the 15-year option is also popular with people refinancing their loans. The following chart shows the blended overall market condition, but if you can compare it against the above chart you can visualize how 15-year loans are much more popular for refinancing than for initial home purchases.

All Mortgage Originations.

Source: Urban Institute

Estimated Share of Mortgage Originations

  Year     Purchase     Refinance  
2016 52% 48%
2017 67% 33%
2018 75% 25%

In 2017 there were about $600 billion in mortgage refinance loans & $1.09 trillion in purchase mortgages, so purchases were nearly 2/3 of the market while refis were slightly more than 1/3 of the market. As rates are expected to keep rising, refinance is expected to make up a smaller share of the overall market.

The amount of new loans to refinance a home was expected to drop to $430 billion, down 28.3 percent from 2017, while the amount of new mortgages to buy a home will likely increase by 7.3 percent to $1.2 trillion, MBA said.

United States Census Data

As of July 1, 2016 the United States has a population of 323,127,513. The US gains a person every 18 seconds and is estimated to have a population of 326,965,105 on December 31, 2017.

The following table highlights the July 1, 2016 populations of states & territories based on United States Census Bureau estimates.

All table columns are sortable. Click on the column headers to sort by that column. Click again to sort low to high. States with higher levels of population growth typically see the increased real estate demand drive faster real estate price appreciation.

Rank State 2016 Pop 2010 Pop Change % △
United States 323,127,513 308,745,538 14,381,975 4.45%
23 Alabama 4,863,300 4,779,736 83,564 1.72%
47 Alaska 741,894 710,231 31,663 4.27%
16 Arizona 6,931,071 6,392,017 539,054 7.78%
32 Arkansas 2,988,248 2,915,918 72,330 2.42%
1 California 39,250,017 37,253,956 1,996,061 5.09%
22 Colorado 5,540,545 5,029,196 511,349 9.23%
29 Connecticut 3,576,452 3,574,097 2,355 0.07%
45 Delaware 952,065 897,934 54,131 5.69%
50 District of Columbia 681,170 601,723 79,447 11.66%
4 Florida 20,612,439 18,801,310 1,811,129 8.79%
9 Georgia 10,310,371 9,687,653 622,718 6.04%
40 Hawaii 1,428,557 1,360,301 68,256 4.78%
39 Idaho 1,683,140 1,567,582 115,558 6.87%
5 Illinois 12,801,539 12,830,632 -29,093 -0.23%
15 Indiana 6,633,053 6,483,802 149,251 2.25%
30 Iowa 3,134,693 3,046,355 88,338 2.82%
33 Kansas 2,907,289 2,853,118 54,171 1.86%
26 Kentucky 4,436,974 4,339,367 97,607 2.20%
25 Louisiana 4,681,666 4,533,372 148,294 3.17%
41 Maine 1,331,479 1,328,361 3,118 0.23%
19 Maryland 6,016,447 5,773,552 242,895 4.04%
14 Massachusetts 6,811,779 6,547,629 264,150 3.88%
8 Michigan 9,928,300 9,883,640 44,660 0.45%
21 Minnesota 5,519,952 5,303,925 216,027 3.91%
31 Mississippi 2,988,726 2,967,297 21,429 0.72%
18 Missouri 6,093,000 5,988,927 104,073 1.71%
44 Montana 1,042,520 989,415 53,105 5.09%
38 Nebraska 1,907,116 1,826,341 80,775 4.24%
35 Nevada 2,940,058 2,700,551 239,507 8.15%
42 New Hampshire 1,334,795 1,316,470 18,325 1.37%
11 New Jersey 8,944,469 8,791,894 152,575 1.71%
36 New Mexico 2,081,015 2,059,179 21,836 1.05%
3 New York 19,745,289 19,378,102 367,187 1.86%
10 North Carolina 10,146,788 9,535,483 611,305 6.02%
48 North Dakota 757,952 672,591 85,361 11.26%
7 Ohio 11,614,373 11,536,504 77,869 0.67%
28 Oklahoma 3,923,561 3,751,351 172,210 4.39%
27 Oregon 4,093,465 3,831,074 262,391 6.41%
6 Pennsylvania 12,784,227 12,702,379 81,848 0.64%
43 Rhode Island 1,056,426 1,052,567 3,859 0.37%
24 South Carolina 4,961,119 4,625,364 335,755 6.77%
46 South Dakota 865,454 814,180 51,274 5.92%
17 Tennessee 6,651,194 6,346,105 305,089 4.59%
2 Texas 27,862,596 25,145,561 2,717,035 9.75%
34 Utah 3,051,217 2,763,885 287,332 9.42%
49 Vermont 624,594 625,741 -1,147 -0.18%
12 Virginia 8,411,808 8,001,024 410,784 4.88%
13 Washington 7,288,000 6,724,540 563,460 7.73%
37 West Virginia 1,831,102 1,852,994 -21,892 -1.20%
20 Wisconsin 5,778,708 5,686,986 91,722 1.59%
51 Wyoming 585,501 563,626 21,875 3.74%
Puerto Rico 3,411,307 3,725,789 -314,482 -9.22%

Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division
Release Date: May 2017.

Largest Cities Across the United States

There are over 300 cities across the United States which have at least 100,000 residents.

Population Cities
1,000,000+ 10
300,000–999,999 54
200,000–299,999 51
100,000–199,999 192
Total 307

Over 40% of these cities are located in just 3 states: California, Texas & Florida.

State Large Cities
CA 73
TX 38
FL 22
CO 12
AZ 10
NC 9
IL, WA 8
GA, MI, NJ, VA 7
OH, TN 6
CT, KS, MA, MO, NY, OR 5
AL, IN, LA, NV, OK, UT 4
IA, MN, PA, SC, WI 3
KY, NE, NM 2
AK, AR, DC, HI, ID, MD, MS, MT, ND, NH, RI, SD 1
DE, ME, VT, WV, WY 0

Typically during economic expansions real estate prices increase faster in large cities than they do in rural areas. Here is a table of cities & Census Designated Places across the United States with a population above 100,000.

RankCityState2016 Pop2010 PopChangeLandPop Density
1New York New York8,537,6738,175,1334.43%301.5 mi²28,317/mi²
2Los Angeles California3,976,3223,792,6214.84%468.7 mi²8,484/mi²
3Chicago Illinois2,704,9582,695,5980.35%227.3 mi²11,900/mi²
4Houston Texas2,303,4822,100,2639.68%637.5 mi²3,613/mi²
5Phoenix Arizona1,615,0171,445,63211.72%517.6 mi²3,120/mi²
6Philadelphia Pennsylvania1,567,8721,526,0062.74%134.2 mi²11,683/mi²
7San Antonio Texas1,492,5101,327,40712.44%461.0 mi²3,238/mi²
8San Diego California1,406,6301,307,4027.59%325.2 mi²4,325/mi²
9Dallas Texas1,317,9291,197,81610.03%340.9 mi²3,866/mi²
10San Jose California1,025,350945,9428.39%177.5 mi²5,777/mi²
11Austin Texas947,890790,39019.93%312.7 mi²3,031/mi²
12Jacksonville Florida880,619821,7847.16%747.4 mi²1,178/mi²
13San Francisco California870,887805,2358.15%46.9 mi²18,569/mi²
14Columbus Ohio860,090787,0339.28%218.5 mi²3,936/mi²
15Indianapolis Indiana855,164820,4454.23%361.5 mi²2,366/mi²
16Fort Worth Texas854,113741,20615.23%342.9 mi²2,491/mi²
17Charlotte North Carolina842,051731,42415.12%305.4 mi²2,757/mi²
18Seattle Washington704,352608,66015.72%83.8 mi²8,405/mi²
19Denver Colorado693,060600,15815.48%153.3 mi²4,521/mi²
20El Paso Texas683,080649,1215.23%256.8 mi²2,660/mi²
21Washington District of Columbia681,170601,72313.20%61.1 mi²11,148/mi²
22Boston Massachusetts673,184617,5949.00%48.3 mi²13,938/mi²
23Detroit Michigan672,795713,777−5.74%138.8 mi²4,847/mi²
24Nashville Tennessee660,388601,2229.84%475.9 mi²1,388/mi²
25Memphis Tennessee652,717646,8890.90%317.4 mi²2,056/mi²
26Portland Oregon639,863583,7769.61%133.5 mi²4,793/mi²
27Oklahoma City Oklahoma638,367579,99910.06%606.3 mi²1,053/mi²
28Las Vegas Nevada632,912583,7568.42%134.4 mi²4,709/mi²
29Louisville Kentucky616,261597,3373.17%263.5 mi²2,339/mi²
30Baltimore Maryland614,664620,961−1.01%80.9 mi²7,598/mi²
31Milwaukee Wisconsin595,047594,8330.04%96.2 mi²6,186/mi²
32Albuquerque New Mexico559,277545,8522.46%188.2 mi²2,972/mi²
33Tucson Arizona530,706520,1162.04%230.8 mi²2,299/mi²
34Fresno California522,053494,6655.54%114.4 mi²4,563/mi²
35Sacramento California495,234466,4886.16%97.9 mi²5,059/mi²
36Mesa Arizona484,587439,04110.37%137.9 mi²3,514/mi²
37Kansas City Missouri481,420459,7874.71%315.0 mi²1,528/mi²
38Atlanta Georgia472,522420,00312.50%133.5 mi²3,539/mi²
39Long Beach California470,130462,2571.70%50.3 mi²9,347/mi²
40Colorado Springs Colorado465,101416,42711.69%195.6 mi²2,378/mi²
41Raleigh North Carolina458,880403,89213.61%145.1 mi²3,163/mi²
42Miami Florida453,579399,45713.55%36.0 mi²12,599/mi²
43Virginia Beach Virginia452,602437,9943.34%244.7 mi²1,850/mi²
44Omaha Nebraska446,970408,9589.29%133.2 mi²3,356/mi²
45Oakland California420,005390,7247.49%55.9 mi²7,514/mi²
46Minneapolis Minnesota413,651382,5788.12%54.0 mi²7,660/mi²
47Tulsa Oklahoma403,090391,9062.85%196.8 mi²2,048/mi²
48Arlington Texas392,772365,4387.48%95.8 mi²4,100/mi²
49New Orleans Louisiana391,495343,82913.86%169.4 mi²2,311/mi²
50Wichita Kansas389,902382,3681.97%160.4 mi²2,431/mi²
51Cleveland Ohio385,809396,815−2.77%77.7 mi²4,965/mi²
52Tampa Florida377,165335,70912.35%113.4 mi²3,326/mi²
53Bakersfield California376,380347,4838.32%148.8 mi²2,529/mi²
54Aurora Colorado361,710325,07811.27%153.5 mi²2,356/mi²
55Honolulu Hawaii351,792337,2564.31%60.5 mi²5,815/mi²
56Anaheim California351,043336,2654.39%50.0 mi²7,021/mi²
57Santa Ana California334,217324,5282.99%27.1 mi²12,333/mi²
58Corpus Christi Texas325,733305,2156.72%174.6 mi²1,866/mi²
59Riverside California324,722303,8716.86%81.2 mi²3,999/mi²
60Lexington Kentucky318,449295,8037.66%283.6 mi²1,123/mi²
61St. Louis Missouri311,404319,294−2.47%62.0 mi²5,023/mi²
62Stockton California307,072291,7075.27%61.7 mi²4,977/mi²
63Pittsburgh Pennsylvania303,625305,704−0.68%55.4 mi²5,481/mi²
64Saint Paul Minnesota302,398285,0686.08%52.0 mi²5,815/mi²
65Cincinnati Ohio298,800296,9430.63%77.4 mi²3,860/mi²
66Anchorage Alaska298,192291,8262.18%1,706.6 mi²175/mi²
67Henderson Nevada292,969257,72913.67%104.7 mi²2,798/mi²
68Greensboro North Carolina287,027269,6666.44%128.3 mi²2,237/mi²
69Plano Texas286,057259,84110.09%71.7 mi²3,990/mi²
70Newark New Jersey281,764277,1401.67%24.1 mi²11,691/mi²
71Lincoln Nebraska280,364258,3798.51%92.1 mi²3,044/mi²
72Toledo Ohio278,508287,208−3.03%80.7 mi²3,451/mi²
73Orlando Florida277,173238,30016.31%105.2 mi²2,635/mi²
74Chula Vista California267,172243,9169.53%49.6 mi²5,387/mi²
75Irvine California266,122212,37525.31%65.6 mi²4,057/mi²
76Fort Wayne Indiana264,488253,6914.26%110.6 mi²2,391/mi²
77Jersey City New Jersey264,152247,5976.69%14.8 mi²17,848/mi²
78Durham North Carolina263,016228,33015.19%109.8 mi²2,395/mi²
79St. Petersburg Florida260,999244,7696.63%61.8 mi²4,223/mi²
80Laredo Texas257,156236,0918.92%101.1 mi²2,544/mi²
81Buffalo New York256,902261,310−1.69%40.4 mi²6,359/mi²
82Madison Wisconsin252,551233,2098.29%77.0 mi²3,280/mi²
83Lubbock Texas252,506229,5739.99%124.6 mi²2,027/mi²
84Chandler Arizona247,477236,1234.81%64.9 mi²3,813/mi²
85Scottsdale Arizona246,645217,38513.46%183.9 mi²1,341/mi²
86Glendale Arizona245,895226,7218.46%59.1 mi²4,161/mi²
87Reno Nevada245,255225,2218.90%107.3 mi²2,286/mi²
88Norfolk Virginia245,115242,8030.95%53.3 mi²4,599/mi²
89Winston–Salem North Carolina242,203229,6175.48%132.5 mi²1,828/mi²
90North Las Vegas Nevada238,702216,96110.02%98.0 mi²2,436/mi²
91Irving Texas238,289216,29010.17%67.0 mi²3,557/mi²
92Chesapeake Virginia237,940222,2097.08%338.5 mi²703/mi²
93Gilbert Arizona237,133208,45313.76%68.0 mi²3,487/mi²
94Hialeah Florida236,387224,6695.22%21.5 mi²10,995/mi²
95Garland Texas234,943226,8763.56%57.0 mi²4,122/mi²
96Fremont California233,136214,0898.90%77.5 mi²3,008/mi²
  Paradise Nevada 229,666 223,167 2.91% 46.717 mi² 4,777/mi²
97Baton Rouge Louisiana227,715229,493−0.77%85.9 mi²2,651/mi²
  Arlington Virginia 226,092 207,627 8.89% 25.98 mi² 7,992/mi²
98Richmond Virginia223,170204,2149.28%59.8 mi²3,732/mi²
99Boise Idaho223,154205,6718.50%82.1 mi²2,718/mi²
100San Bernardino California216,239209,9243.01%61.5 mi²3,516/mi²
101Spokane Washington215,973208,9163.38%68.7 mi²3,144/mi²
102Des Moines Iowa215,472203,4335.92%88.9 mi²2,424/mi²
103Modesto California212,175201,1655.47%43.0 mi²4,934/mi²
104Birmingham Alabama212,157212,237−0.04%146.1 mi²1,452/mi²
105Tacoma Washington211,277198,3976.49%49.7 mi²4,251/mi²
106Fontana California209,665196,0696.93%43.0 mi²4,876/mi²
107Rochester New York208,880210,565−0.80%35.8 mi²5,835/mi²
108Oxnard California207,906197,8995.06%26.9 mi²7,729/mi²
109Moreno Valley California205,499193,3656.28%51.3 mi²4,006/mi²
110Fayetteville North Carolina204,759200,5642.09%147.7 mi²1,386/mi²
111Aurora Illinois201,110197,8991.62%44.9 mi²4,479/mi²
112Glendale California200,831191,7194.75%30.4 mi²6,606/mi²
113Yonkers New York200,807195,9762.47%18.0 mi²11,156/mi²
114Huntington Beach California200,652189,9925.61%26.9 mi²7,459/mi²
115Montgomery Alabama200,022205,764−2.79%159.8 mi²1,252/mi²
116Amarillo Texas199,582190,6954.66%101.4 mi²1,968/mi²
117Little Rock Arkansas198,541193,5242.59%118.7 mi²1,673/mi²
118Akron Ohio197,633199,110−0.74%62.0 mi²3,188/mi²
119Columbus Georgia197,485189,8854.00%216.4 mi²913/mi²
120Augusta Georgia197,081195,8440.63%302.5 mi²652/mi²
121Grand Rapids Michigan196,445188,0404.47%44.4 mi²4,424/mi²
122Shreveport Louisiana194,920199,311−2.20%107.1 mi²1,820/mi²
123Salt Lake City Utah193,744186,4403.92%111.2 mi²1,742/mi²
124Huntsville Alabama193,079180,1057.20%213.4 mi²905/mi²
125Mobile Alabama192,904195,111−1.13%139.4 mi²1,384/mi²
  Sunrise Manor Nevada 192,873 189,372 1.85% 33.352 mi² 5,678/mi²
126Tallahassee Florida190,894181,3765.25%100.4 mi²1,901/mi²
127Grand Prairie Texas190,682175,3968.72%72.3 mi²2,637/mi²
  Spring Valley Nevada 190,661 178,395 6.88% 33.226 mi² 5,369/mi²
128Overland Park Kansas188,966173,3728.99%75.1 mi²2,516/mi²
129Knoxville Tennessee186,239178,8744.12%98.5 mi²1,891/mi²
130Port St. Lucie Florida185,132164,60312.47%118.9 mi²1,557/mi²
131Worcester Massachusetts184,508181,0451.91%37.4 mi²4,933/mi²
132Brownsville Texas183,823175,0235.03%132.5 mi²1,387/mi²
133Tempe Arizona182,498161,71912.85%40.0 mi²4,562/mi²
134Santa Clarita California181,972176,3203.21%52.8 mi²3,446/mi²
135Newport News Virginia181,825180,7190.61%69.1 mi²2,631/mi²
136Cape Coral Florida179,804154,30516.53%105.6 mi²1,703/mi²
137Providence Rhode Island179,219178,0420.66%18.4 mi²9,740/mi²
138Fort Lauderdale Florida178,752165,5217.99%34.6 mi²5,166/mi²
139Chattanooga Tennessee177,571167,6745.90%143.1 mi²1,241/mi²
140Rancho Cucamonga California176,534165,2696.82%40.0 mi²4,413/mi²
141Oceanside California175,464167,0865.01%41.3 mi²4,249/mi²
142Santa Rosa California175,155167,8154.37%41.3 mi²4,241/mi²
143Garden Grove California174,858170,8832.33%18.0 mi²9,714/mi²
144Vancouver Washington174,826161,7918.06%46.9 mi²3,728/mi²
145Sioux Falls South Dakota174,360153,88813.30%75.4 mi²2,312/mi²
146Ontario California173,212163,9245.67%49.9 mi²3,471/mi²
147McKinney Texas172,298131,11731.41%63.0 mi²2,735/mi²
148Elk Grove California169,743153,01510.93%42.2 mi²4,022/mi²
149Jackson Mississippi169,148173,514−2.52%111.0 mi²1,524/mi²
150Pembroke Pines Florida168,587154,0199.46%33.0 mi²5,109/mi²
151Salem Oregon167,419154,6378.27%48.6 mi²3,445/mi²
152Springfield Missouri167,319159,4984.90%82.3 mi²2,033/mi²
153Corona California166,785152,3749.46%39.5 mi²4,222/mi²
154Eugene Oregon166,575156,1856.65%44.1 mi²3,777/mi²
155Fort Collins Colorado164,207143,98614.04%55.8 mi²2,943/mi²
156Peoria Arizona164,173154,0656.56%175.7 mi²934/mi²
157Frisco Texas163,656116,98939.89%67.7 mi²2,417/mi²
158Cary North Carolina162,320135,23420.03%56.5 mi²2,873/mi²
159Lancaster California160,106156,6332.22%94.3 mi²1,698/mi²
160Hayward California158,937144,18610.23%45.5 mi²3,493/mi²
161Palmdale California157,356152,7503.02%106.0 mi²1,484/mi²
162Salinas California157,218150,4414.50%23.6 mi²6,662/mi²
163Alexandria Virginia155,810139,96611.32%15.0 mi²10,387/mi²
164Lakewood Colorado154,393142,9807.98%42.9 mi²3,599/mi²
165Springfield Massachusetts154,074153,0600.66%31.9 mi²4,830/mi²
166Pasadena Texas153,351149,0432.89%43.5 mi²3,525/mi²
167Sunnyvale California152,771140,0819.06%22.0 mi²6,944/mi²
168Macon Georgia152,55591,35167.00%249.3 mi²612/mi²
169Pomona California152,494149,0582.31%23.0 mi²6,630/mi²
170Hollywood Florida151,998140,7687.98%27.3 mi²5,568/mi²
171Kansas City Kansas151,709145,7864.06%124.8 mi²1,216/mi²
172Escondido California151,613143,9115.35%37.1 mi²4,087/mi²
173Clarksville Tennessee150,287132,92913.06%98.3 mi²1,529/mi²
174Joliet Illinois148,262147,4330.56%64.4 mi²2,302/mi²
175Rockford Illinois147,651152,871−3.41%63.5 mi²2,325/mi²
176Torrance California147,195145,4381.21%20.5 mi²7,180/mi²
177Naperville Illinois147,122141,8533.71%38.7 mi²3,802/mi²
178Paterson New Jersey147,000146,1990.55%8.4 mi²17,500/mi²
179Savannah Georgia146,763136,2867.69%103.6 mi²1,417/mi²
180Bridgeport Connecticut145,936144,2291.18%16.1 mi²9,064/mi²
  Metairie Louisiana 144,772 138,481 4.54% 23.222 mi² 5,963/mi²
181Mesquite Texas143,736139,8242.80%47.2 mi²3,045/mi²
182Killeen Texas143,400127,92112.10%53.5 mi²2,680/mi²
183Syracuse New York143,378145,170−1.23%25.0 mi²5,735/mi²
184McAllen Texas142,212129,8779.50%58.4 mi²2,435/mi²
185Pasadena California142,059137,1223.60%23.0 mi²6,176/mi²
186Bellevue Washington141,400122,36315.56%33.5 mi²4,221/mi²
187Fullerton California140,721135,1614.11%22.4 mi²6,282/mi²
188Orange California140,504136,4163.00%25.4 mi²5,532/mi²
189Dayton Ohio140,489141,527−0.73%55.7 mi²2,522/mi²
190Miramar Florida138,449122,04113.44%29.4 mi²4,709/mi²
191Thornton Colorado136,703118,77215.10%35.7 mi²3,829/mi²
192West Valley City Utah136,574129,4805.48%35.5 mi²3,847/mi²
193Olathe Kansas135,473125,8727.63%60.9 mi²2,225/mi²
194Hampton Virginia135,410137,436−1.47%51.5 mi²2,629/mi²
195Warren Michigan135,125134,0560.80%34.4 mi²3,928/mi²
196Midland Texas134,610111,14721.11%74.4 mi²1,809/mi²
197Waco Texas134,432124,8057.71%89.0 mi²1,510/mi²
198Charleston South Carolina134,385120,08311.91%109.0 mi²1,233/mi²
199Columbia South Carolina134,309129,2723.90%133.5 mi²1,006/mi²
200Denton Texas133,808113,38318.01%93.4 mi²1,433/mi²
201Carrollton Texas133,351119,09711.97%36.3 mi²3,674/mi²
202Surprise Arizona132,677117,51712.90%107.9 mi²1,230/mi²
203Roseville California132,671118,78811.69%43.0 mi²3,085/mi²
204Sterling Heights Michigan132,427129,6992.10%36.5 mi²3,628/mi²
205Murfreesboro Tennessee131,947108,75521.32%55.9 mi²2,360/mi²
206Gainesville Florida131,591124,3545.82%62.3 mi²2,112/mi²
207Cedar Rapids Iowa131,127126,3263.80%70.8 mi²1,852/mi²
208Visalia California131,074124,4425.33%37.5 mi²3,495/mi²
209Coral Springs Florida130,059121,0967.40%23.8 mi²5,465/mi²
210New Haven Connecticut129,934129,7790.12%18.7 mi²6,948/mi²
  Enterprise Nevada 129,620 108,481 19.49% 46.513 mi² 2,332/mi²
211Stamford Connecticut129,113122,6435.28%37.6 mi²3,434/mi²
212Thousand Oaks California128,888126,6831.74%55.2 mi²2,335/mi²
213Concord California128,726122,0675.46%30.5 mi²4,221/mi²
214Elizabeth New Jersey128,640124,9692.94%12.3 mi²10,459/mi²
215Lafayette Louisiana127,626120,6235.81%53.8 mi²2,372/mi²
216Kent Washington127,51492,41137.99%33.7 mi²3,784/mi²
217Topeka Kansas126,808127,473−0.52%61.5 mi²2,062/mi²
218Simi Valley California126,327124,2371.68%41.5 mi²3,044/mi²
219Santa Clara California125,948116,4688.14%18.4 mi²6,845/mi²
  East Los Angeles California 124,191 126,496 -1.82% 7.448 mi² 16,984/mi²
220Athens Georgia123,371115,4526.86%116.4 mi²1,060/mi²
221Hartford Connecticut123,243124,775−1.23%17.4 mi²7,083/mi²
222Victorville California122,265115,9035.49%73.3 mi²1,668/mi²
223Abilene Texas122,225117,0634.41%106.7 mi²1,146/mi²
224Norman Oklahoma122,180110,92510.15%178.8 mi²683/mi²
225Vallejo California121,299115,9424.62%30.7 mi²3,951/mi²
226Berkeley California121,240112,5807.69%10.5 mi²11,547/mi²
227Round Rock Texas120,89299,88721.03%35.6 mi²3,396/mi²
228Ann Arbor Michigan120,782113,9346.01%28.1 mi²4,298/mi²
229Fargo  North Dakota120,762105,54914.41%49.3 mi²2,450/mi²
230Columbia Missouri120,612108,50011.16%65.0 mi²1,856/mi²
231Allentown Pennsylvania120,443118,0322.04%17.5 mi²6,882/mi²
232Evansville Indiana119,477117,4291.74%47.3 mi²2,526/mi²
233Beaumont Texas118,299118,2960.00%82.1 mi²1,441/mi²
234Odessa Texas117,87199,94017.94%45.2 mi²2,608/mi²
235Wilmington North Carolina117,525106,47610.38%51.6 mi²2,278/mi²
236Arvada Colorado117,453106,43310.35%38.6 mi²3,043/mi²
237Independence Missouri117,030116,8300.17%77.8 mi²1,504/mi²
238Provo Utah116,868112,4883.89%41.7 mi²2,803/mi²
239Lansing Michigan116,020114,2971.51%39.1 mi²2,967/mi²
240El Monte California115,807113,4752.06%9.6 mi²12,063/mi²
241Springfield Illinois115,715116,250−0.46%60.1 mi²1,925/mi²
242Fairfield California114,756105,3218.96%40.9 mi²2,806/mi²
243Clearwater Florida114,361107,6856.20%25.9 mi²4,415/mi²
244Peoria Illinois114,265115,007−0.65%48.2 mi²2,371/mi²
245Rochester Minnesota114,011106,7696.78%54.6 mi²2,088/mi²
246Carlsbad California113,952105,3288.19%37.7 mi²3,023/mi²
247Westminster Colorado113,875106,1147.31%31.7 mi²3,592/mi²
248West Jordan Utah113,699103,7129.63%32.3 mi²3,520/mi²
249Pearland Texas113,57091,25224.46%46.3 mi²2,453/mi²
250Richardson Texas113,34799,22314.23%28.6 mi²3,963/mi²
251Downey California113,267111,7721.34%12.4 mi²9,134/mi²
252Miami Gardens Florida113,058107,1675.50%18.2 mi²6,212/mi²
253Temecula California113,054100,09712.94%37.3 mi²3,031/mi²
254Costa Mesa California112,822109,9602.60%15.7 mi²7,186/mi²
255College Station Texas112,14193,85719.48%51.0 mi²2,199/mi²
256Elgin Illinois112,123108,1883.64%37.4 mi²2,998/mi²
257Murrieta California111,674103,4667.93%33.6 mi²3,324/mi²
258Gresham Oregon111,523105,5945.61%23.3 mi²4,786/mi²
259High Point North Carolina111,223104,3716.57%55.2 mi²2,015/mi²
260Antioch California110,898102,3728.33%29.4 mi²3,772/mi²
261Inglewood California110,654109,6730.89%9.1 mi²12,160/mi²
262Cambridge Massachusetts110,651105,1625.22%6.4 mi²17,289/mi²
263Lowell Massachusetts110,558106,5193.79%13.6 mi²8,129/mi²
264Manchester New Hampshire110,506109,5650.86%33.1 mi²3,339/mi²
265Billings Montana110,323104,1705.91%43.7 mi²2,525/mi²
266Pueblo Colorado110,291106,5953.47%53.6 mi²2,058/mi²
267Palm Bay Florida110,104103,1906.70%65.7 mi²1,676/mi²
268Centennial Colorado109,932100,3779.52%29.5 mi²3,727/mi²
269Richmond California109,813103,7015.89%30.1 mi²3,648/mi²
  Brandon Florida 109,784 103,483 6.09% 33.101 mi² 3,126/mi²
270Ventura California109,592106,4332.97%21.8 mi²5,027/mi²
271Pompano Beach Florida109,39399,8459.56%24.0 mi²4,558/mi²
272North Charleston South Carolina109,29897,47112.13%73.7 mi²1,483/mi²
273Everett Washington109,043103,0195.85%33.3 mi²3,275/mi²
274Waterbury Connecticut108,272110,366−1.90%28.5 mi²3,799/mi²
275West Palm Beach Florida108,16199,9198.25%55.1 mi²1,963/mi²
276Boulder Colorado108,09097,38510.99%24.8 mi²4,358/mi²
277West Covina California107,847106,0981.65%16.0 mi²6,740/mi²
278Broken Arrow Oklahoma107,40398,8508.65%61.7 mi²1,741/mi²
279Clovis California106,58395,63111.45%24.2 mi²4,404/mi²
280Daly City California106,472101,1235.29%7.6 mi²14,009/mi²
281Lakeland Florida106,42097,4229.24%65.9 mi²1,615/mi²
282Santa Maria California106,29099,5536.77%22.8 mi²4,662/mi²
283Norwalk California106,178105,5490.60%9.7 mi²10,946/mi²
284Sandy Springs Georgia105,70393,85312.63%37.7 mi²2,804/mi²
285Hillsboro Oregon105,16491,61114.79%25.0 mi²4,207/mi²
286Green Bay Wisconsin105,139104,0571.04%45.4 mi²2,316/mi²
287Tyler Texas104,79896,9008.15%56.6 mi²1,852/mi²
288Wichita Falls Texas104,724104,5530.16%72.2 mi²1,450/mi²
289Lewisville Texas104,65995,2909.83%36.7 mi²2,852/mi²
290Burbank California104,447103,3401.07%17.4 mi²6,003/mi²
291Greeley Colorado103,99092,88911.95%47.8 mi²2,176/mi²
292San Mateo California103,95997,2076.95%12.1 mi²8,592/mi²
293El Cajon California103,76899,4784.31%14.5 mi²7,156/mi²
294Jurupa Valley California103,541newn/a42.9 mi²2,414/mi²
295Rialto California103,31499,1714.18%22.3 mi²4,633/mi²
296Davenport Iowa102,61299,6852.94%62.9 mi²1,631/mi²
297League City Texas102,01083,56022.08%51.2 mi²1,992/mi²
298Edison New Jersey101,99699,9672.03%30.1 mi²3,389/mi²
299Davie Florida101,87191,99210.74%34.9 mi²2,919/mi²
300Las Cruces New Mexico101,75997,6184.24%76.9 mi²1,323/mi²
301South Bend Indiana101,735101,1680.56%41.4 mi²2,457/mi²
302Vista California101,65993,8348.34%18.7 mi²5,436/mi²
303Woodbridge New Jersey101,38999,5851.81%23.3 mi²4,351/mi²
304Renton Washington100,95390,92711.03%23.4 mi²4,314/mi²
305Lakewood New Jersey100,75892,8438.53%24.7 mi²4,079/mi²
306San Angelo Texas100,70293,2008.05%59.9 mi²1,681/mi²
307Clinton Michigan100,39296,7963.72%28.1 mi²3,573/mi²

National Average Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates vary depending upon the down payment of the consumer, their credit score, and the type of loan that will be acquired by the consumer. For instance, in February, 2010, the national average mortgage rate for a 30 year fixed rate loan was at 4.750 percent (5.016 APR). The 15 year fixed was at 4.125 percent (4.312 APR) and the 5/1 ARM was at 3.875 percent (3.122 APR). These prices are just a snapshot of the average and will constantly change day to day, though the relative values will remain roughly the same. Namely, longer duration debt & fixed rate loans are typically charged a higher initial interest rate to lock in the certainy. This relationship makes sense because homeowners have the ability to refinance a fixed rate mortgage if rates drop, but if interest rates increase lenders have no way to adjust the fixed rate upward.

The general rule of thumbs are

  • mortgage rates typically trade above 10-year treasury rates,
  • longer loan duration is associated with a higher rate, and
  • adjustable rate loans typically have a lower initial rate, but over the course of the loan that rate may shift significantly

The Consumer Fiance Protection Bureau offers a home buyer's checklist and a free online tool for checking typical mortgage rates within your state for a given credit score range.

Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.

Historical Mortgage Rates

Here are historical average annual interest rates for popular home loan products.

Year 30-YR FRM Rate 30-YR Points 15-YR FRM Rate 15-YR Points 1-YR ARM Rate 1-YR Points 1-YR Margin 5/1-YR ARM Rate 5/1-YR Points 5/1-YR Margin
2016 3.65 0.5 2.93 0.5 2.87 0.5 2.74
2015 3.85 0.6 3.09 0.6 2.53 0.3 2.74 2.94 0.5 2.74
2014 4.17 0.6 3.29 0.6 2.44 0.4 2.73 3.02 0.5 2.74
2013 3.98 0.7 3.11 0.7 2.62 0.4 2.76 2.88 0.5 2.75
2012 3.66 0.7 2.93 0.7 2.69 0.5 2.76 2.78 0.6 2.74
2011 4.45 0.7 3.68 0.7 3.03 0.6 2.76 3.31 0.6 2.74
2010 4.69 0.7 4.1 0.7 3.78 0.6 2.76 3.82 0.6 2.74
2009 5.04 0.7 4.57 0.7 4.7 0.6 2.75 4.75 0.6 2.74
2008 6.03 0.6 5.62 0.6 5.17 0.6 2.74 5.74 0.6 2.75
2007 6.34 0.4 6.03 0.4 5.56 0.6 2.75 6.07 0.5 2.76
2006 6.41 0.5 6.07 0.5 5.54 0.7 2.76 6.08 0.6 2.77
2005 5.87 0.6 5.42 0.6 4.49 0.7 2.77 5.32 0.6 2.78
2004 5.84 0.7 5.21 0.6 3.9 0.7 2.77
2003 5.83 0.6 5.17 0.6 3.76 0.6 2.76
2002 6.54 0.6 5.98 0.6 4.62 0.7 2.77
2001 6.97 0.9 6.5 0.9 5.82 0.9 2.77
2000 8.05 1 7.72 1 7.04 1 2.78
1999 7.44 1 7.06 1 5.99 1.1 2.79
1998 6.94 1.1 6.59 1.1 5.58 1.1 2.79
1997 7.6 1.7 7.13 1.7 5.61 1.4 2.79
1996 7.81 1.7 7.32 1.7 5.67 1.4 2.79
1995 7.93 1.8 7.48 1.8 6.06 1.5 2.8
1994 8.38 1.8 7.86 1.8 5.36 1.5 2.79
1993 7.31 1.6 6.83 1.6 4.58 1.5 2.77
1992 8.39 1.7 7.96 1.7 5.62 1.7 2.76
1991 9.25 2 7.09 1.9 2.77
1990 10.13 2.1 8.36 2.1 2.77
1989 10.32 2.1 8.8 2.3 2.77
1988 10.34 2.1 7.9 2.3 2.75
1987 10.21 2.2 7.83 2.2
1986 10.19 2.2 8.43 2.3
1985 12.43 2.5 10.05 2.5
1984 13.88 2.5 11.51 2.5
1983 13.24 2.1
1982 16.04 2.2
1981 16.63 2.1
1980 13.74 1.8
1979 11.2 1.6
1978 9.64 1.3
1977 8.85 1.1
1976 8.87 1.1
1975 9.05 1.1
1974 9.19 1.2
1973 8.04 1
1972 7.38 0.9

Source: Freddie Mac PMMS

Conforming Mortgages

Fixed Rate Mortgages

Fixed rates are based upon the national average, but vary from state to state. They possess the same interest rate throughout the duration of the loan. Consumers desire these loans if they plan to remain in their homes for the duration of the loan. For example, the consumer obtains a mortgage when interest rates are at their lowest and then interest rates rise. The consumer does not have to worry about their rates increasing because the interest rate is “fixed”. If the interest rates decrease, the consumer may have the option of refinancing, if the costs of refinancing are less than the overall savings.

These loans are typically available in 15 year and 30 year loan options. The rates are higher than variable rate loans, as consumers pay a premium to lock in the security of a fixed rate while maintaining the ability to refinance. The longer the term, the higher the rate, because banks will lose money as purchasing power decreases due to inflation.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)

Adjustable rates are typically lower than fixed rates when the loan is initially established. ARMs may adjust on a monthly basis in keeping with the Federal Reserve or on a bi-annual or annual basis. The consumer should be aware that as interest rates increase, so will their monthly payments. While ARMs may be appealing because the initial rates are lower, ARMs can also be a gamble. ARMs may be beneficial to investors or consumers who only plan to keep the loan for a short period of time. During that time, the consumer can enjoy low interest rates.

Hybrid Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)

Hybrid Adjustable Rate Mortgages offer the consumer a low interest rate for a certain period of time. Then, they increase or adjust to the current rate after fixed rate period has elapsed. These rates can be an entire point lower than 30 year fixed rates. Therefore, there may be significant savings in terms of interest paid to the lender. Some common hybrid ARMs are 1 year fixed, 1 year adjustable rates (1/1); 5 years fixed, 1 year adjustable (5/1); and 7 years fixed, 1 year adjustable (7/1). The adjustable rates will be based upon the federal rate when the fixed term elapses. These loans are also appealing to investors or home buyers who plan to sell in a short period of time.

Jumbo Loans

Conforming Mortgage Limits

As of 2018 Congress set the conforming loan limit for single unit homes across the continental United States to $453,100, with a ceiling of 150% that amount in areas where median home values are higher. The limit is as follows for 2, 3, and 4-unit homes $580,150, $701,250, and $871,450. The limits are higher in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam & the U.S. Virgin Islands. Borrowers who exceed these limits will need to obtain a jumbo mortgage.

Homes NOT in Designated High-cost Areas

The limits in the first row apply to all areas of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin & most other parts of the continental United States.

The limits in the second row apply to all parts of Alaska, Guam, Virgin Islands, Washington D.C & some parts of Hawaii.

Units 1 2 3 4
Continental U.S. $453,100 $580,150 $701,250 $871,450
Alaska, Hawaii, Guam & U.S. Virgin Islands $679,650 $870,225 $1,051,875  $1,307,175

Homes in Designated High-cost Areas

The areas covered in this table are further detailed below the map in state-by-state tables.

Units 1 2 3 4
Continental U.S. $679,650 $870,225 $1,051,875  $1,307,175
Alaska, Hawaii, Guam & U.S. Virgin Islands $1,019,475 $1,305,325 $1,577,800 $1,960,750

The FHFA offers an interactive map of conforming limits by county. A static version of the map is included below.

Nationwide Map of Conforming Loan Limits.

 

Federal Loan Programs

FHA Loans

The FHA secures loans made by private lenders. These loans are provided to Americans who have a low to middle income. This loan is available to those people who cannot afford a large down payment or higher interest rates. Interest rates for these loans are lower than the national average for a fixed rate loan. Individual banks determine the interest rates; therefore, the consumer should do research prior to accepting a loan at a particular bank. The consumer can receive a loan for as little as 3 percent down and also receive as much as 6 percent on closing costs. This means that the consumer can borrow up to 97 percent of the cost of the home.

VA Loans

VA loans are offered to veterans. The loans assist veterans in obtaining 100 percent financing. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs is the governing body that establishes the rules for the recipients of the VA loans. They also insure the VA loans and establish the terms of the loans offered to veterans.

USDA Loans & Grants

USDA loans can help people with low incomes in rural parts of the state qualify for a subsidized low-interest loan.

Comparison of Mortgage Rates

Fixed rates are best for individuals who intend to remain in their homes for the duration of the loan. The initial interest rate may be higher than an ARM; however, there will be no hidden increases over the duration of the loan.

During the fixed rate period of a hybrid ARM, the consumer can enjoy the low interest rates and low payments. However, individuals who are not prepared may see an increase in their loan premiums that they cannot afford.

ARM interest rates change each month with the Federal Reserve. This loan is typically recommended for a short term investor who will sell quickly.

Fixed rate loans are by far the safest loans for consumers over a period of time.

When is the best time to obtain a mortgage?

The best time to secure a mortgage or refinance is when the rates are the lowest. Compare the National Mortgage Rate average over the past 10 to 20 years. If the rate is at one of its lowest points historically, then it can be a safe entry point into the market. Many investors over-extended themselves by purchasing multiple properties when prices were high. If the market turns, the home buyers may owe more than the house is worth. Those who wish to sell cannot fully recoup the costs of the home. Therefore, instead of having equity in the home, consumers owe more than the home is worth. Many individuals, in this instance will negotiate with the bank and “short sell” in order to relieve themselves of the debt.

A person who is making a purchase where they are using a large down payment or paying cash would likely be better off buying when mortgage rates are higher, since most people (who may compete to buy the same property) budget based on the montly payment rather than the total price of the house.

Below is a chart of historical montly mortgage rates from the Federal Reserve Economic Data series.

As stated above, the rates change based upon the Federal Reserve and the desire to keep the economy stable. Read the reports from the office and inquire with lenders to get a fair prediction of the direction of the Federal Reserve. If the Federal Reserve decides that consumers need to spend and borrow, interest rates will remain low. However, if the Federal Reserve decides that it needs consumers to save, invest, and deposit money, the interest rates will remain high. Other factors beyond the Federal Reserve which impact housing prices include:

Hidden Costs of Home Ownership

A home is not just an asset, but also has many costs beyond financing; including regular repairs, homeowner's insurance, and property taxes.

If your down payment on a conforming loan is below 20% of the home's value you will likely be required to carry private mortgage insurance (PMI) until the loan's balance is below 80% of the home's value. Government loan programs like FHA and VA loans do not require PMI, however they have their own seperate insurance requirements, which may require the insurance to remain throughout the duration of the loan.

Beware of ARMs. The interest rates will typically increase after the introductory period and may cause a home buyer financial stress when the rates increase. Some individuals even foreclose when this happens, because they cannot handle the increased payments.

Purchasing mortgage discount points can be a viable option if you are fairly certain you will live in the house for many years. However, if you move after a couple years then paying a significant upfront fee to lock in lower rates for the life of the loan will be money wasted.

Other hidden costs may be associated with refinancing. For instance, an individual with a fixed interest rate may decide to refinance the loan if the interest rates decrease during the duration of the loan. However, the consumer must incur costs to have the loan refinanced. The consumer should make certain that the cost of refinancing is less than the savings from a lower interest rate. Otherwise, refinancing may not be in the best interest of the consumer. Some loans also contain pre-payment penalties, which increase the cost of refinancing.