More Record Lows for Mortgages



Original Post Date: July 30, 2010

By: Nathan Becker

U.S. mortgage rates fell again in the past week, with the average rate on 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages furthering record lows, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of mortgage rates.

Rates have remained at or near record lows as the Treasury market has rallied amid stock-market volatility. A rally in Treasurys pushes yields lower, and mortgage rates generally track those yields.

“For the sixth week in a row, interest rates on fixed-rate mortgages eased to all-time record lows during a week of mixed housing-data reports,” said Freddie Chief Economist Frank Nothaft.

Mr. Nothaft noted that the number of markets experiencing increases in home prices appears to be growing, citing recent data from the S&P/Case-Shiller Indexes. But he also highlighted last month’s decline in existing-home sales.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.54% for the week ended Thursday, down from the prior week’s 4.56% and 5.25% a year ago. The rate sits at the lowest point since Freddie began tracking it in 1971.

Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages were 4%, down from 4.03% and 4.69%, respectively. It is at the lowest point since 1991, when Freddie started tracking it.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.76%, lower than the prior week’s 3.79% and 4.75% a year earlier. One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs were 3.64%, down from 3.7% and 4.80%, respectively. The latest figure is the lowest since Freddie started following that loan type in 1984.

To obtain the rates, the mortgages required payment of an average 0.7 point. A point is 1% of the mortgage amount, charged as prepaid interest.