Mortgage rates set a new record lows in two weekly surveys for the eighth consecutive week. The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey put the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) at 4.44% with an average 0.7 origination point for the week ending Aug. 12, down from last week’s average of 4.49% and a year ago, when the average was 5.29%. It’s a new record low for the survey, which began in 1971. The Bankrate survey of large banks and thrifts put the average rate for a 30-year FRM at 4.57% with a 0.48 origination point, down from last week’s average of 4.66% and a new record low for the nearly 25-year-old survey. Rates for 5-year adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) are also plunging, setting historic record lows for both surveys. Freddie reported the rate as down to 3.56% with an average origination point of 0.7 from 3.63% last week and 4.75% at the same time last year. Bankrate posted 5-year ARMs at 3.92%, down from 3.95%. Vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac, Frank Nothaft, suggested the stagnant job market could be driving down mortgage rates on FRMs and ARMs, although most borrowers prefer fixed-rate mortgages. “Interest rates for fixed-mortgages and 5-year hybrid ARMs again broke record lows this week following reports of a sluggish job market,” he said. “Private payrolls increased by 71,000 jobs in July, below the market consensus forecast, and revisions shaved June’s growth by 34,000 workers.” A new addition to the Bankrate survey was a benchmark rate for 30-year jumbo FRMs, which averaged 5.27%, a record low reached this week, down from 5.34%. Freddie said the average rate for a 15-year FRM averaged 3.92% with an average 0.6 point, down from last week’s average of 3.95% and a year ago, when the average was 4.68%. The average is a new low for the 15-year survey, which began in 1991. Bankrate put the average rate for a 15-year FRM at 4.06%, down from last week’s average of 4.11%, as a nearly 25-year record low for the survey. The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 3.53% with an average 0.7 point this week, down from last week when it averaged 3.55%. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 4.72%. Write to Christine Ricciardi.
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