Aspiring homeowners may have a less fraught experience shopping for a property as rate fluctuations calm, says NAR’s deputy chief economist.
Scale with coins and house model
© gopixa - iStock/Getty Images Plus

For 17 weeks, mortgage rates have fluctuated in the 6% range. While home buyers may be wishing for lower rates, they can now at least shop for a property with a better understanding of what to expect financially, says Jessica Lautz, deputy chief economist at the National Association of REALTORS®.

So far this year, mortgage rates have not seen a rapid run-up like late last year, when they nearly eclipsed 8%. “Knowing that rates have stayed steady may make for a less fraught home shopping experience,” Lautz says.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.82% this week, up slightly from its average of 6.79% last week, Freddie Mac reports.

Home buyers purchasing a $400,000 home at the current mortgage rate, along with a 20% down payment, can expect to pay $2,090 a month on their loan, Lautz notes. Higher down payments can help lower the monthly costs. Buyers between the ages of 69 and 77, for example, tend to make a 35% down payment, which would bring their monthly mortgage payment down to $1,698 at the current mortgage rate, Lautz says.

Home buyers are able to plan better financially when there is less fluctuation in mortgage rates, economists say. “Since the start of 2024, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has not reached 7% but has not dropped below 6.6% either,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “While incoming economic signals indicate lower rates of inflation, we do not expect rates will decrease meaningfully in the near term. On the plus side, inventory is improving somewhat, which should help temper home price growth.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending April 4:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 6.82%, up from last week’s 6.79% average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 6.28%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 6.06%, dropping from last week’s 6.11% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 5.64%.