Mortgage rates are falling for the fourth straight week amid fears that a growing variant of the delta coronavirus and a worsening pandemic in hot spots around the world could derail a sustainable economic recovery.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average for a 30-year home loan fell to 2.78% from 2.88% last week, up from a 3.18% peak in April this year. The key rate a year ago was 3.01%.
The rate on a 15-year loan, a popular mortgage refinancing option among homeowners, fell to 2.12% from 2.22% last week.
Concerns about the potential impact of the pandemic on the economic recovery on Monday triggered a collapse in global markets, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 2.1%. The stocks of the companies most affected by the potential COVID-19 restrictions suffered some of the worst losses. Financial markets showed signs of heightened concern for a while, but the US stock market remained largely resilient.
Many potential home buyers have been unable to take advantage of ultra-low mortgage rates due to the limited supply of homes for sale and high prices. The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that sales of previously occupied homes rose in June, breaking a four-month losing streak, while strong demand for higher-end properties and low home loan rates helped push prices to new highs.
The government said Thursday that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose from the lowest level in the pandemic last week, even as the labor market appears to be recovering thanks to a resurgent economy. The number of applications for unemployment benefits increased to 419,000, the maximum in two months, from 368,000 in the previous week.