While the average interest rate on VA-backed loans remains lower than that of conventional mortgages, veterans aren’t immune to market forces ― especially when those forces are on the move.
Interest rates for all home loans are at a seven-year high, according to data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, with the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4.61 percent. That figure hasn’t been reached since May 19, 2011, and it’s more than half a percentage point higher than the average from this time last year (4.02 percent).
Freddie Mac doesn’t break its figures down by loan type, but mortgage data company Ellie Mae does, and its latest report tells a similar story. The average 30-year rate for all loans that closed in April sat at 4.79 percent, per Ellie Mae data, with VA loans at 4.63 percent, up nearly a full percentage point since December 2016 (3.76 percent).
As fixed-loan rates rise, more buyers are shifting toward adjustable-rate mortgages, where initial interest rates are lower than the average but can increase after an introductory period. ARMs made up 6.6 percent of all loans closed in April, per Ellie Mae, and made up 0.6 percent of VA loans ― up from 0.1 percent in December 2016.
ARMs are fairly recent additions to the VA loan arsenal; learn more about VA-specific ARM requirements here, and find out more about all types of VA loans in our VA Loan Center.
Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.