Mortgage interest rates stayed fairly level this week, settling in ahead of the Bureau of Labor Statistics August jobs report, which was released September 5.
Freddie Mac released on September 4 the results of its latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, showing the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) coming in at 4.10 percent (0.5 point) for a third straight week, the lowest level seen so far this year.
The 15-year fixed average was down slightly, dropping 1 basis point to 3.24 percent (0.5 point).
It was a similar story for adjustable rates, with the 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged a rate of 2.97 percent (0.5 point), unchanged from last week, and the 1-year ARM averaging 2.40 percent (0.4 point), up from 2.39 percent previously.
The numbers coming from Bankrate.com's weekly survey were similar, with the 30-year fixed average moving up a point to 4.24 percent and the 15-year fixed moving down a point to 3.37 percent. The 5/1 ARM moved slightly more, dropping 7 basis points to 3.25 percent.
While it's been a tame summer for mortgage rate movements, analysts at Bankrate say it's only a matter of time before that steadiness ends, especially as economic improvements spur policymakers at the Federal Reserve to stop holding interest rates down as much.
"If we get another upbeat jobs report this week, the bond market could begin to realize that higher interest rates are an eventuality, leading mortgage rates higher," they said in a release.
As for what will happen next week, expert opinions are split between an increase and no meaningful change.
"[W]hen rates do rise, they won't go up gradually, like a gently sloping hill. They'll march upward in steps, like a flight of stairs," said Holden Lewis, assistant managing editor at Bankrate. "That first step might be a doozy. It might happen in the coming week (doubtful) or months from now."