FHFA Sees Mortgage Rates Level with February 2009
Conventional mortgage rates continued to rise in February, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) monthly rate report (download here). The average interest rate entered on a conventional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) of $417,000 or less ticked up 3 basis points (bps) in February to 5.13%, from 5.1% in January. The average rate on 15-year FRMs rose 11bps to 4.65% in February, FHFA said. The average contract rate on all loans -- fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages -- rose 4bps to 5.03% in February. The national average contract mortgage rate inched up to a level seen in February 2009: FHFA calculated these average rates based on purchase-only mortgage loans closed during the February 22-26 period. Because interest rates are typically determined 30-45 days before loan closing, these rates represent market conditions prevailing in mid- to late-January. In a separate report, FHFA said that in January the national average contract mortgage rate for the purchase of previously occupied homes was 5.05%, up 4bps from 5.01% in December. This rate is commonly used to adjust ARM rates and previously was the only index rate that federally chartered savings and loan associations could use as an adjustable-rate mortgage index in the early 1980s, FHFA said. Write to Diana Golobay.