Mortgage Rates Remain Stable to Start 2020—and That Could Mean an Early Start to the Spring Home-Buying Season

By Jacob Passy | Jan 2, 2020

The new decade has kicked off with a fairly stable interest-rate environment for home loans.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.72% during the week ending Jan. 2, down two basis points from the previous week, Freddie Mac, reported Thursday.

Similarly, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell three basis points to an average of 3.16%, according to Freddie Mac. The 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage, meanwhile, increased one basis point to an average of 3.46%.

Overall, mortgage rates started off 2020 roughly 80 basis points lower than they were at the start of 2019. “The stability is welcome news after the interest rate turbulence of the last year, which caused a slowdown in the housing market and other interest rate-sensitive sectors,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

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Mortgage rates roughly follow the direction of the 10-year Treasury note, which fell five basis points Thursday despite stocks setting new records to kick-off 2020.

If rates remain around historic lows, then that could mean that spring will come early for the home-buying market. “As mortgage rates remain favorable, buyers are likely to get a head start on the spring shopping season in the first couple months of this year,” said George Ratiu, senior economist at Realtor.com.

(Realtor.com is operated by News Corp subsidiary Move Inc., and MarketWatch is a unit of Dow Jones, which is also a News Corp subsidiary.)