Data released by the Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA) on Tuesday showed a slight decline in mortgage rates during the month of March to reach 4.22 percent—a 0.8 percent decrease from February.
Because interest rates are generally locked in between 30 and 45 days before the close of a loan, the March data reflects rates from mid-to-late February. The effective interest rate, which accounts for initial fees and charges over the life of a mortgage, edged down slightly to 4.37 percent.
According to the interest rate survey from the FHFA, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage of $417,000 or less totaled 4.51 percent in March. The average loan amount totaled $278,500 in March, up approximately $3,000 from February.
Pending home sales, meanwhile, saw the first gain in nine months in March, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
“After a dismal winter, more buyers got an opportunity to look at homes last month and are beginning to make contract offers,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. “Sales activity is expected to steadily pick up as more inventory reaches the market, and from ongoing job creation in the economy.”
Pending home sales increased in the Northeast, West and the South, while the Midwest saw pending home sales decline slightly in March.