WASHINGTON — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates edged down this week to their lowest levels of the year, offering a continued incentive for purchasing during the spring home-buying season.
The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate loan touched its lowest point in nearly three years, since May 2013. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average slipped to 3.58 percent from 3.59 percent last week. The key rate stood at 3.67 percent a year ago.
The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages declined to 2.86 percent from 2.88 percent last week.
The continued strong demand for U.S. government bonds, spurred by indications that the Federal Reserve won’t raise the interest rates it controls any time soon, has kept prices of the bonds at high levels. The bonds’ yields, moving in the opposite direction from their prices and influencing mortgage rates, have remained at low levels.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond stood at 1.76 percent Wednesday, unchanged from a week earlier. The yield rose to 1.78 percent Thursday morning.
To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country at the beginning of each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.
The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was unchanged from last week at 0.5 point. The fee for a 15-year loan rose to 0.5 point from 0.4 point.
Rates on adjustable five-year mortgages averaged 2.84 percent this week, up from 2.82 percent last week. The fee fell to 0.4 point from 0.5 point.
Metro Atlanta home prices are growing year over year, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices published Tuesday.
Home prices in the area were flat from December 2015 to January 2016, but up 5.7 percent year over year. That’s higher than the national year-over-year growth rate of 5.4 percent.
“Home prices continue to climb at more than twice the rate of inflation,” said David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. The low inventory of homes for sale — currently about a five month supply – means that would-be sellers seeking to trade-up are having a hard time finding a new, larger home. The recovery of the sale and construction of new homes has lagged the gains seen in existing home sales. This may be starting to change: starts of single family homes in February were the highest since November 2007.
Like its north metro neighbor Avalon, a Forsyth County live-work-play utopia with a similarly fancy name — Halcyon — is forging ahead, and a fresh rendering has emerged to preview exactly what it could be.
With 135 acres and some $370 million behind it, Halcyon is one of five transformative mega-developments in the works for the affluent upper reaches of metro Atlanta, which could theoretically bring almost 7,000 residential units, more than 700 hotel rooms, 6 million square feet of office and commercial space, and unneeded car traffic.
Halcyon will be the northernmost project of its type planned on the Ga. Highway 400 corridor. Across the border from Alpharetta, it would be connected to 40-plus miles of greenways, and as such, its leaders plan to emphasize outdoor living. Once finished, it would encompass an area more than two-thirds the size of Piedmont Park.
Halcyon’s developers broke ground last month and seem optimistic the first phase will open in fall 2017 with a whopping 125,000 square feet of retail, 65,000 square feet of offices, and a 110-room hotel. (These guys must be fast).
With the initial phase, Halcyon watchers can also expect to see 87 homes, 155 townhomes — with prices starting in the high $400,000s — and 448 apartments, reports the Milton Herald.
Plans for the commercial village will include “a movie or entertainment venue, gourmet market, outdoor outfitter, up to 10 local and regional full-service and fast-casual restaurants, a boutique fitness club, and service retail,” the newspaper reports.
Google has been on an expansion march in Metro Atlanta in recent months. Aside from the Millennium in Midtown renewal, the firm announced plans to expand its Google Fiber presence to the metro area—one of the first cities to experience its rollout.