U.S. mortgage rates tick lower

Rates for home loans ticked down as fears of a Federal Reserve rate increase waned, mortgage provider Freddie Mac said Thursday.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.48% in the September 22 week, down from 3.50% in the prior week. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.76%, down one basis point during the week.

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 2.80%, compared with 2.82% in the prior week. Those rates don’t include fees and points associated with obtaining mortgages.

Despite the post-Brexit swoon earlier in the summer, rates haven’t been low enough to entice many people to refinance. During each month in 2016, refinances have made up less than half of all mortgage closings, mortgage application processor Ellie Mae said this week.

Refis made up about three out of every four home loans originated as the housing market recovered from the 2008-09 financial crisis, and as owners regained equity in their homes, employment picked up, and the purchase of new and existing homes sputtered. Rates are nearly as low now, but the pool of people who could benefit from mortgage refinancing may be shrinking.

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