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Mortgage rates today for 30- and 15-year fixed loans fell slightly, while rates for 5/1 ARMs remained the same, according to a NerdWallet survey of mortgage rates published by national lenders Tuesday morning.

Housing starts, the beginning of construction of new homes, tumbled by 6.8% to just over 1.2 million in March from an adjusted 1.3 million starts in February, according to a joint announcement from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The decline was driven by a 6.2% decline in single-family housing starts, the largest share of housing types in the report.

Meanwhile, building permits, an indication of future construction activity, picked up by 3.6% to a rate of nearly 1.3 million in March, up from over 1.2 million in February, according to a news release.

Although homebuilding was down in March, an increase in new building permits signals that builders are confident in housing prospects in the near future. And with mortgage rates lower as of late, that underpins the high demand for housing in many markets across the country where existing homes are in short supply.


(Change from 4/17)
30-year fixed: 4.13% APR (-0.02)
15-year fixed: 3.49% APR (-0.01)
5/1 ARM: 3.80% APR (NC)

» MORE: How much home can you afford?

Homeowners looking to lower their mortgage rate can shop for refinance lenders here.

NerdWallet daily mortgage rates are an average of the published annual percentage rate with the lowest points for each loan term offered by a sampling of major national lenders. APR quotes reflect an interest rate plus points, fees and other expenses, providing the most accurate view of the costs a borrower might pay.

Deborah Kearns is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: Twitter: @debbie_kearns.

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