The average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage dropped to 3.15% this week, the lowest ever recorded in a Freddie Mac data series that goes back almost five decades.
The rate fell from 3.24% last week, setting a new record low for the third time in three months, according to the report.
Mortgage rates have fallen after the Federal Reserve began buying mortgage-backed securities to stimulate demand, said Chris Low, chief economist of FHN Financial in New York. The Fed has purchased more than half a trillion dollars of MBS after restarting in March a bond-buying program it used during the financial crisis more than a decade ago.
The Fed is by far the biggest player in the mortgage markets right now, the biggest buyer of mortgages, and because of that, they have almost complete control over the interest rate.
That means the central bank has the ability to stimulate home sales by driving rates to lows that most people wouldn’t have thought possible a few years ago.
Every economist had doubts about how housing would fare during COVID-19, but what we’ve seen has been absolutely remarkable. Home sales are holding up extraordinarily well, and that’s in large part because of the mortgage rates..
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