Unexpectedly Intriguing!
22 June 2023
Mortgage Payment Due date by alanharder.ca via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mortgage_Payment_Due_date!_-_51245764089.jpg

In the United States, 30-year mortgage rates play a big role in determining how affordable housing is for American households.

As important as they are however, the historical data for mortgage rates is surprisingly lacking. Freddie Mac, officially known as Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, only has weekly data extending back to April 1971. The government-sponsored enterprise used to report monthly averages for mortgage rates, but that discontinued that practice after December 2022.

And yet, because housing sales and prices are reported on a monthly basis, it's incredibly useful to have mortgage rates averaged over the period of a month. Since Freddie Mac isn't doing that job any more, we're taking it over. Not only that, we're making all that historic data freely available!

It's built into the following interactive chart, which visualizes 52 years worth of the average monthly interest rates for 30-year conventional mortgages in the U.S.

Monthly Average 30-Year Mortgage Rates, April 1971 - April 2023

Some quick observations:

  • In April 1971, the average 30-year mortgage rate was 7.31%.
  • The hyperinflation of the late 1970s contributed to the rapid rise of mortgage rates, which first peaked at 16.33% in April 1980, then fell back to 12.19% just three months later. Mortgage rates then proceeded to rise rapidly once more, reaching a record high peak of 18.45% in October 1981.
  • Over the next 40 years, the 30-year conventional mortgage rate generally fell in a long, sustained downtrend. The interest rate on a 30-year conventional mortgage ultimately bottomed at 2.77% in November 2020.
  • Mortgage rates then began rising slowly, reaching 3.10% in December 2021.
  • After December 2021, mortgage rates surged as the Biden-era's inflation firmly took hold. The average mortgage rate peaked at 6.90% in October 2022, before falling back. During 2023, the interest rate on a conventional 30-year mortgage has ranged between 6.27% and 6.54%. In April 2023, the average 30-year mortgage rate was 6.34%.

We plan to update the chart every few months. If you are looking to find a recent month's average rate that hasn't yet been included, see the references....


Freddie Mac. 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgages Since 1971. [Online Database]. Accessed 23 May 2023. Note: Starting from December 2022, the estimated monthly mortgage rate is taken as the average of weekly 30-year conventional mortgage rates recorded during the month.

Image credit: Mortgage Payment Due date by alanharder.ca via Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).

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