Mortgage rates fall for the week of July 21, 2014

Posted by  on Jul 28, 2014

Most mortgage rates dipped last week, according to HSH.com, with the key one -- that for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) -- reaching a 13-month low at 4.17 percent, although points edged up to a steep 0.17. Average rates and points for 15-year FRMs held steady at 3.43 percent and 0.09. Many rates for adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) also declined, with the average for 30-year 1/1 ARMs tumbling 15 basis points to 2.70 percent from 2.85 percent the previous week. Points for these fell even more vertiginously, ending up at 0.12, compared with 0.29 seven days earlier.

Today's mortgage rates are real bargains

It's easy to forget just how cheap today's mortgage rates really are. If you look back through Freddie Mac's archives all the way to 1971, you get a feel for just how exceptional the current offerings are. It shows only 21 months (Sept. 2011 through June 2013) in the last 43 years when monthly averages for 30-year FRMs were lower than 4.17 percent.

They averaged 6.03 percent as recently as 2008. And, if you want a scare, check out 1981: The average that year was 16.63 percent. But, because the outlier all-time lows are so recent, we often lose perspective.

Our live database of current mortgage rates can help you find the best mortgage rates in your area. And, if you'd like to track or compare rates within your state or metro area, you can do so using our Knowledge Center's Mortgage Rate Trends page, which provides all the tools you need.

Making the most of refinance opportunities

The Mortgage Bankers Association reports that, during week ending July 18, refinances made up 54.4 percent of all applications -- the highest proportion for some months. It's no surprise that such low rates are tempting homeowners to revisit their loans.

If you are in that situation, it is important to explore all your options. You may be able to seriously boost your wealth by opting for a shorter term, increasing your down payment, working on your credit score, and, of course, shopping around for the very best refinance rates.

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