Mortgage rates were down in two weekly surveys, and in Freddie Mac’s (FRE) index, rates dipped below 5%. Freddie Mac said the average interest for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.97% with a 0.7 origination point for the week ending March 4, down from 5.05% one week ago. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 5.15%.’s weekly survey of large banks and thrifts put the 30-year FRM at 5.12% with a 0.39 origination point, down from last week, when it was 5.15%. “30-year fixed mortgages fell below 5% to match levels seen two weeks ago and are helping to maintain affordable home-purchase conditions,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “In fact, monthly principal and interest mortgage payments for a typical family buying a median-priced home of $163,800 were just $709 in January, the lowest amount since February 1998, according to the National Association of Realtors,” he added. “For first-time homebuyers, the fourth quarter of 2009 was the third most affordable quarter since 1981 behind the first and second quarter of 2009.” Freddie said the average rate for a 30-year FRM was 4.33% with an average 0.7 point, down from last week’s average of 4.4% and a year ago, when the average was 4.72%. said 15-year FRMs were average at 4.46% with a 0.39 point, down from 4.52% last week. The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 4.11% with an average 0.6 point, down from last week’s average of 4.16% and a year ago, when the five-year ARM averaged 5.08%. said the five-year ARM average was 4.46% with a 0.39 point, down from last week, when it was 4.53%. Freddie said the one-year ARM averaged 4.27% with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 4.15%, but down from last year, when it was 4.86%. Write to Austin Kilgore.

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