Daily mortgage rates for April 18, 2024: Rates tick higher amid inflation concerns

Mortgage rates continue to push higher as of Thursday, April 18, 2024, after last week’s disappointing inflation data, with average rates showing increases of more than 20 basis points week over week on 15- and 30-year terms.

The current average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage is 7.22% for purchase and 7.19% for refinance — up 25 basis points from 6.97% for purchase and up 21 basis points from 6.98% for refinance last Thursday. Rates on a 15-year mortgage stand at an average 6.66% for both purchase and refinance, up from 6.44% and 6.46%, respectively, last week. The average rate on a 30-year fixed jumbo mortgage is 7.33%.

Purchase rates for Thursday, April 18, 2024

30-year fixed rate — 7.22%

20-year fixed rate — 7.03%

15-year fixed rate — 6.66%

10-year fixed rate — 6.53%

5/1 adjustable rate mortgage — 6.50%

30-year fixed FHA rate — 7.30%

30-year fixed VA rate — 7.38%

30-year fixed jumbo rate — 7.33%

Refinance rates for Thursday, April 18, 2024

30-year fixed rate — 7.19%

20-year fixed rate — 7.04%

15-year fixed rate — 6.66%

10-year fixed rate — 6.55%

5/1 adjustable rate mortgage — 6.44%

30-year fixed FHA rate — 7.28%

30-year fixed VA rate — 7.75%

30-year fixed jumbo rate — 7.36%

Freddie Mac weekly mortgage report

Freddie Mac reports an average 6.88% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, up 6 basis points from last week, according to its weekly survey of nationwide lenders published on April 11, 2024. The fixed rate for a 15-year mortgage is 6.16%, up 10 basis points from last week. These figures are significantly higher than a year ago, when rates averaged 6.27% for a 30-year term and 5.54% for a 15-year term. 

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says of the April 11 findings, “While newly released inflation data from March continues to show a trend of very little movement, the financial market’s reaction paints a far different economic picture.” New reporting from Freddie Mac is due later today.

Current mortgage rates for April 18, 2024

The Fed rate does not determine mortgage rates, though it sets benchmarks that indirectly affect rates on financial products like mortgages, personal loans and deposit accounts. The Fed has a firm goal of a 2% inflation rate, and with favorable economic reports on the job market, it’s unlikely the reserve will cut rates until that goal is within reality’s reach.

Mortgage rates in the news

Mortgage lenders keep a close eye on the key interest rate set by the Federal Reserve, the U.S.’s central bank. Called the fed rate, it’s the benchmark that affects rates on deposit accounts, loans and other financial products. Typically, as the Fed rate rises, so do APYs on savings products like CDs, high-yield savings accounts and money market accounts. Mortgage and home loan rates don’t follow the fed rate as closely, but they do reflect the same elements the Fed evaluates when making decisions on the benchmark — especially inflation.

The Federal Reserve increased the target interest rate 11 times from March 2022 to July 2023 in an effort to combat the highest inflation in four decades coming out of the pandemic.

New inflation data casts doubt on rate cut

At the conclusion of its rate-setting policy meeting on March 20, 2024, the Fed left the federal funds target interest rate of 5.25% to 5.50% unchanged, marking the fifth consecutive time it’s held rates steady since July 2023. In its post-meeting statement, the Federal Reserve maintained it wouldn’t cut the key interest rate until it’s confident “that inflation is moving sustainably toward 2 percent.”

But complicating the Fed’s next move is March’s Consumer Price Index data released on April 10 that showed a rise in consumer prices — a widely used indicator for inflation — to 3.5% in March, up from 3.2% in February. A growing group of economists now doubt whether the Fed can cut interest rates this year — including Seema Shah, chief global strategist at Principal Asset Management, who said in an email about the CPI report, “This marks the third consecutive strong reading and means that the stalled disinflationary narrative can no longer be called a blip,” adding, “even if inflation were to cool next month to a more comfortable reading, there is likely sufficient caution within the Fed now to mean that a July cut may also be a stretch.” 

The same week brought with it the latest Producer Price Index, an economic indicator measuring changes over time in the prices producers receive for goods and services — or wholesale inflation. The April 11 data showed a lower rate of growth in March than economists expected, providing modest relief from continued inflation worries.

Responding to inflation concerns, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on April 16 cautioned that “recent data have clearly not given us greater confidence” that inflation is under control: “If higher inflation does persist, we can maintain the current level of [interest rates] for as long as needed.” The Fed holds its next policy meeting at the end of April, with a rate decision expected on May 1.

NAR settlement offers ray of hope to summer homebuyers

Coinciding with the busy summer season is a major change in the way Americans buy and sell homes that could offer a ray of sunshine to hopeful homebuyers. On March 15, the National Association of Realtors announced it had agreed to a settlement that, if approved by a federal judge, would bring an end to longstanding real estate broker commissions of up to 6% of a home’s purchase price. The settlement isn’t expected to affect mortgage rates, yet it paves the way for consumers to negotiate what they pay for an agent’s services, potentially saving money in the long run.

4 top factors that affect your mortgage rate

The difference of even half a percentage point on your interest rate can save you hundreds of dollars a month and thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage, but the mortgage rate you’re ultimately offered depends on the mortgage you’re interested in, payments you’re willing to pay up front and your overall financial health.

Your credit score. Knowing your credit score can help you shop around for lenders you’re likely to get approval through, as well as understand the type of mortgage for your lifestyle and income. The best mortgage rates go to borrowers with good to excellent credit — typically a FICO credit score of at least 670 — though even with fair credit, you may be able to find a mortgage offering decent rates.

Your down payment. The more money you can put down toward your home, the better it benefits your interest rate. Paying at least 20% of your home’s purchase price up front generally results in a lower interest rate — and you can avoid mortgage insurance, which increases your total cost.

Your loan term. While the 30-year mortgage remains a popular way for Americans to purchase homes, you can find terms of 20 years, 15 years and 10 years. Shorter loan terms usually come with lower interest rates, though with higher monthly payments. Longer mortgage terms can result in smaller monthly payments, though you’ll pay higher total interest over the life of your loan.

Interest rate type. Mortgage rates come with two basic types of rates — fixed and variable. Fixed-rate mortgages offer a consistent interest rate over the life of your loan, whereas adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) often start with a lower fixed rate for an agreed-on time and then adjust to a variable rate based on market conditions for the remainder of your term. Choosing between these two rates depends on your financial goals and tolerance for risk.

Frequently asked questions about mortgage rates

What are mortgage lenders?

Lenders are financial institutions that loan money to homebuyers. A lender is different from a loan servicer, which typically handles the operational tasks of your loan, like processing payments, talking directly with borrowers and sending monthly statements.  

What does it mean to refinance a mortgage? 

Refinancing is a process of trading in your current mortgage to another lender for lower rates and better terms than your current loan. With a refinance, the new lender pays off your old mortgage and you then pay your monthly statements from the new lender.  

What factors influence mortgage rates?

Mortgage rates are determined by many factors that include inflation rates, economic conditions, housing market trends and the Federal Reserve’s target interest rate. Lenders also consider your personal credit score, the amount available for your down payment, the property you’re interested in and other terms of the loan you’re requesting, like 30-year or 15-year offers.

When is the best time to lock in a mortgage rate?

Mortgage rates can fluctuate daily, so it’s best to lock in a rate when you’re comfortable with the offered rate and conditions of the loan. 

Can I negotiate my mortgage rate?

It’s not likely — lenders consider the market conditions and other financial factors when determining rates. You can, however, ask about how you can reduce costs in other ways when comparing mortgage lenders. For instance, many lenders offer lower rates in exchange for “mortgage points” — upfront fees you pay to your lender. A mortgage point could cost 1% of your mortgage amount, which means about $5,000 on a $500,000 home loan, with each point lowering your interest rate by about 0.25%, depending on your lender and loan. 

Editor’s note: Annual percentage yields shown are as of Thursday, April 18, 2024, at 7 a.m. ET. APYs and promotional rates for some products can vary by region and are subject to change.

Sources

Primary Mortgage Market Survey, Freddie Mac. Accessed April 12, 2024.

U.S. Economic, Housing and Mortgage Market Outlook, Freddie Mac. Accessed April 1, 2024.

Producer Price Index News Release summary, U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Accessed April 12, 2024.

Mortgage Industry Insights, Bankrate. Accessed April 18, 2024.

2024 Housing Market Prediction: Lower Mortgage Rates, National Association of Realtors. Accessed March 19, 2024.

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