WASHINGTON (AP) – Mortgage rates have been mixed this week and remain largely unchanged since their first hike last week after a six-week decline. Average rates on home loans remain historically low – less than 3%.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average for 30-year mortgages fell to 2.86% from 2.87% last week. The base rate, which peaked this year at 3.18% in April, was 2.99% a year ago.
The rate on the 15-year loan, a popular mortgage refinancing option among homeowners, rose to 2.16% from 2.15% last week.
Uncertainty over the rapidly spreading delta variant of the coronavirus and its potential impact on economic recovery has held back mortgage rates in recent weeks. Worryingly, the resurgent virus could discourage people from going out and spending and provoking a new round of blackouts or other restrictions.
On a positive note, Thursday’s government report showed that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell for the fourth time in a row last week to a pandemic low. The drop in applications by 29,000 to 348,000 is the latest sign that the US job market is recovering from a pandemic recession as employers ramp up hiring to meet surging consumer demand.