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Mortgage Rates Hold Steady Near Record Lows

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Mortgage rates remained virtually unchanged from one week ago, holding steady at near record-low levels in two weekly surveys. The Freddie Mac weekly survey put the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) at 4.57% with a 0.7 origination point for the week ending July 15, unchanged from the new record low set last week. A year ago, the 30-year FRM averaged 5.14%. The Bankrate weekly survey of large banks and thrifts put the 30-year FRM average at 4.77% with a 0.41 origination point, up slightly from last week's record-setting average of 4.74%. The Bankrate survey has only been below this point twice in its 25-year history, both instances during the past two weeks. “Fixed-rate mortgages continued to hover at 50-year lows, thereby supporting homebuyer affordability and refinance activity," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist in the weekly report. "Over the past month, about four out of five conventional loan applications and more than one-half of FHA and VA loan applications were for refinance." "Compared to the recent peak in 30-year fixed interest rates 13 months ago (week of June 11, 2009), current rates are a full percentage point lower," Nothaft added. "With today's rates, homebuyers would save about $1,500 in payments each year on a $200,000 loan compared to rates last June.” Freddie's 15-year FRM averaged 4.06% with a 0.7 origination point, down slightly from last week's average of 4.07% as well as last year, when it averaged 4.63%. Bankrate said 15-year FRM rates averaged 4.23% with a 0.41 origination point, up from last week's average of 4.22%. Freddie said the five-year, Treasury-indexed, hybrid adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.85% with a 0.7 origination point, up from last week's average of 3.75%, but down from a year ago, when the average was 4.83%. Bankrate put the average rate for a five-year ARM at 4.12% with a 0.41 origination point, up from last week's average of 4.06%. Freddie said the one-year ARM set a new record low at 3.74% with a 0.7 origination point, down from last week's average of 3.75% and a year ago, when it averaged 4.76%. Write to Austin Kilgore.

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