What is the "Freddie Mac" Mortgage Rate?



Freddie Mac's weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey works by asking 125 banks nationwide their respective mortgage rates for the 30-year fixed rate mortgage, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage, and the 5-year adjustable rate mortgage, plus any discount points that may be required to get said rate.

Freddie Mac's mortgage rate survey is highly-cited. It's the one most frequently used by journalists, Wall Street, and by economists. It's also an input for other housing metrics including the Home Affordability Index, among others.

When people speak in general terms about mortgage rates, they're citing Freddie Mac. To the average mortgage rate shopper, however, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate is a little less valuable. This is because it's rare for an actual home buyer, or an actual refinancing household to get access to the "Freddie Mac" rate.

There are three reasons for this:

  • Published rates are an average from all of Freddie Mac's surveyed banks. If a week's rate is 3.55%. Conforming mortgage rates, though, are priced in 1/8ths, exclusively. There's no such thing as a 3.55% mortgage rate, really. The closest rate would be 3.625%.
  • Mortgage rates vary by region and. In a given week, for example, Southeast Region borrowers may be paying the most. Therefore homeowners in Florida and Georgia, as examples, pay higher mortgage rates and higher loan fees than homeowners in Western Region states such as Arizona and California.
  • Freddie Mac assumes that all mortgage applicants pay discount points. Few do.

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