A higher-than-expected drop in home sales last month -- they dropped 3.7% year over year to 5.48 million -- has helped to keep mortgage interest rates low, though that's both good news and bad news. As the number of available homes for sale declines, inventory shrinks (last month it dropped 6.4% year over year) and home prices rise -- that's the bad news. However, in response, it appears lenders are easing their rates to help the average home-buyer overcome the higher prices.

The result was an across-the-board drop in loan rates today. The rate declines once again included adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) which had climbed a bit last week following many banks increasing their prime rates -- what lenders charge their most creditworthy customers -- after the recent hike in the federal funds rate.

Here are today's average mortgage rates across the U.S., along with where they stood a month ago.

Mortgage Type

Mortgage Rates Today

Mortgage Rates 1 Month Ago

30-year fixed jumbo

4.78%

4.49%

30-year fixed

4.01%

4.03%

15-year fixed

3.18%

3.17%

30-year fixed refinance

4.01%

4.06%

15-year fixed refinance

3.19%

3.23%

5/1 ARM

3.24%

3.18%

5/1 ARM refinance

3.33%

3.329%

Data source: Bloomberg. Rates are national averages and may include points.

As attractive as today's mortgage rates are, they're actually higher than the rates home buyers were enjoying this time last year. For some perspective, here are a few of the rates from a year ago.

Mortgage Type

Mortgage Rates, March 2016

30-year fixed

3.69%

15-year fixed

2.97%

1-year ARM

2.90%

Data source: Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac). Rates are national averages and do not include points.

For current homeowners considering a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or equity loan, both rates also inched downward today. HELOC and equity loan rates are 5.11% and 5.21%, respectively. Both equity loan rates remain below last month's rate of 5.26% each.

 

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