Mortgage interest rates dropped in May compared to April, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's Monthly Interest Rate Survey.
Specifically, the average contract rate for a mortgage for an existing home was 4.18%, down from 4.23% in April. The contract rate on the composite of all mortgage loans, including refinances, was 4.13%.
Interest rates are typically locked in 30-45 days before a loan is closed, so the May data reflect market rates from mid- to late-April.
The effective interest rate, which includes fees over the life of the mortgage, for May was 4.28%, down 10 basis points from 4.38% in April.
The average interest rate on a conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage of $417,000 or less was 4.37%, a decrease of 16 basis points compared to April.
The average loan amount for all loans was $282,600 – down $1,200 from $283,800 in April.
Earlier this week, the National Association of Realtors reported that existing-home sales rose 4.9% in May, compared to April – the largest monthly increase since August 2011. Despite the increase, existing-home sales were still about 5% below the 5.15-million-unit level seen in May 2013. What's more, most of the increase was in high-end luxury homes priced $1 million or more.