A bit of a reprieve in mortgage rates today, as 30- and 15-year fixed-rate loans dropped, while 5/1 ARMs edged slightly higher, according to a NerdWallet survey of current mortgage rates published by national lenders on Wednesday morning.

30-year fixed: 4.54% APR (-0.04)
15-year fixed: 3.94% APR (-0.01)
5-1 ARM: 3.99% APR (+0.02)

U.S. homebuilders are more confident in the single-family new-home market than they have been in nearly 12 years. In fact, builder confidence jumped six points in March to a score of 71, up from 65 in February, the highest level since June 2005, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.

“While builders are clearly confident, we expect some moderation in the index moving forward,” Robert Dietz, NAHB chief economist, said in a news release. “Builders continue to face a number of challenges, including rising material prices, higher mortgage rates and shortages of lots and labor.”

» MORE: How much home can you afford?

The index looks at how builders view the single-family new-construction market by assigning “good,” “fair” or “poor” ratings on current sales and sales expectations over the next six months. Builders are also asked to assess home buyer traffic as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.”

A closer look at the regional index data shows builders have the most confidence in the West, with a score of 76, followed by the Midwest and the South, both with a reading of 68. Builders had the lowest level of confidence in new-home prospects in the Northeast, with a score of 48.

 

Homeowners looking to lower their mortgage rate can shop for refinance lenders here.

NerdWallet daily mortgage rates are an average of the published annual percentage rate with the lowest points for each loan term offered by a sampling of major national lenders. APR quotes reflect an interest rate plus points, fees and other expenses, providing the most accurate view of the costs a borrower might pay.

Deborah Kearns is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: dkearns@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @debbie_kearns.

The article Mortgage Rates Wednesday, March 15: Down; Builder Confidence Highest Since 2005 originally appeared on NerdWallet.