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56.6% of Purchase Borrowers Received Mortgage Rates Under 5% Last Week

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Homebuyers could have seen median lifetime savings of $29,657 in interest on a $300,000 loan by comparison shopping for the best mortgage rates.

Dec. 11, 2018 — Charlotte, N.C.

Each week, LendingTree reports how much consumers can save by comparing rates during the loan shopping process. We describe these savings in two ways, providing the most detailed data on mortgage rates. The LendingTree Mortgage Rate Distribution details the range of mortgage interest rates on offer. The Mortgage Rate Competition Index is the median spread between the lowest and highest APRs offered by lenders in our marketplace.

For the week ending Dec. 9, 2018, the share of borrowers with rates under 5% was the highest in two months, which may lend some support to a weakening housing market.

Mortgage Rate Distribution

  • For 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages, 56.6% of purchase borrowers received offers under 5%, up from 43.5% the prior week. A year ago, 97.4% of purchase offers were under 5%.
  • Across all 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage applications on LendingTree, the most common interest rate was 4.75%, offered to 18.4% of borrowers.
  • 41.5% of 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage refinance borrowers received offers under 5%, which is the same as the prior week. A year ago, 96.5% of refinance offers were under 5%.
  • Across all 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage refinance applications, the most common interest rate was 4.875%, offered to 21.7% of borrowers.

Mortgage Rate Competition Index

  • Across all 30-year fixed-rate mortgage purchase applications on LendingTree, the index was 0.64, up 7 basis points from the previous week.
  • How big of a deal is it to get a mortgage APR that’s 0.64 percentage points lower than the competition? Over 30 years, that could translate to $29,657 in savings on a $300,000 loan (see Mortgage Savings Tracker graphic below).
  • The index was wider in the refinance market at 0.72, up 3 basis points from the previous week. Borrowers could have saved $33,462 by shopping for the lowest rate.

Other findings

  • The distribution of rates — and, as a result, the Mortgage Rate Competition Index — has widened as rates increased, reflecting how mortgage lenders may change the rates at which they can offer consumers loans, depending on their unique business circumstances.

Rate Distribution – Purchase

Rates 5% and Above – Purchase

Mortgage Savings Tracker

LendingTree Mortgage Savings Tracker

Mortgage Rate Competition Index

LendingTree Mortgage Rate Competition Index

Want to learn more about what economic factors influence mortgage rates?

Check out this article on LendingTree.

About the Mortgage Rate Competition Index

The LendingTree Mortgage Rate Competition Index is a proprietary measure of the dispersion in mortgage pricing. It measures the spread in the APR of the best offers available on LendingTree relative to the least competitive (i.e., the highest) rates on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Our research shows that mortgage rate competition varies with the financial and operational measures of activity in the mortgage markets. More details on the index are available in a white paper on the LendingTree website.

How the index is formulated

A mortgage shopper enters their information on LendingTree.com. They input loan variables, including the proposed amount and down payment, and property variables, including property type and location. Using our proprietary algorithm, LendingTree matches borrowers with lenders based on the criteria they provided. Interested lenders return a rate and fee offer. For our index, we combine the rate and fees into an APR and calculate the spread as follows:

The spread is the difference between the highest and lowest offers, in this example, 4.62 – 4.21 = 0.41. We repeat this calculation across 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loans that week and then find the median of the individual spread, which is our index value for that week. This is done separately for the population of purchase and refinance loan requests.


Today's Mortgage Rates

  • 2.362%
  • 2.337%
  • 3.08%
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