Mortgage Rates Inch Up in March: What It Means for Consumers

Positive economic news, including steady increases in consumer spending and forward momentum on construction-spending, caused mortgage rates to increase slightly at the beginning of March.

The average interest rate on a 30-year-fixed mortgage rose to 3.82%. It held steady at 3.8% throughout February. Adjustable-rate mortgage rates rose from 3.24% to 3.32%, while the 15-year-fixed rate remained essentially unchanged at 3.1%.

Though rates have increased slightly, they remain below the overall average of 3.93% seen in March of 2015, meaning it is still a sound time for consumers who may be considering a home purchase.

Those looking to refinance may still benefit now, as well, especially if their current rates are more than 1% above the current prevailing rate. Locking in a better rate now eliminates the risk of drastic rate hikes in the near future. However, financially savvy consumers should also pay close attention to the impact of closing costs on any refinancing contract.

A dip in home sales through January and February has ripened the market for buyers, too. A combination of less competition and an abundance of sellers wary of holding onto a property indefinitely, is giving buyers the upper-hand in every region except the South.

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