Freddie survey shows mortgage interest rates at all-time low
Mortgage rates for the week ended Thursday remained below 4%, but housing demand remains muted as the market continues to grapple with weak employment figures and sagging consumer confidence. The average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage hit 3.89% in the most recent Freddie Mac survey. That compares to 3.91% a week earlier and 4.71% a year ago. The government-sponsored enterprise said the interest rate for the traditional mortgage has been lower than 4% for six-straight weeks. The average rate for a five-year, fixed mortgage hit 3.16% in the most recent survey, down from 3.23% a week earlier and 4.08% last year. The five-year, Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgage hit 2.82%, down from 2.86% a week ago and 3.72% in 2011. The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM fell to 2.76% from 3.23% a year earlier. "Mortgage rates eased slightly this week to all-time record lows following mixed indicators in the labor market," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and economist for Freddie Mac. "Although the economy added 1.6 million jobs in 2011, which was the most since 2006, the unemployment rate historically elevated," he said. "The 2009 to 2011 period had the highest three-year average unemployment rate since 1939 to 1941." Nothaft added that the Federal Reserve recently indicated "most industries saw limited permanent hiring at the end of last year." Bankrate says mortgage rates have not risen above 6% since November 2008. In its latest weekly survey, Bankrate puts the 30-year, FRM at 4.18%, unchanged from the previous week. Meanwhile, the 15-year, FRM fell to 3.38% from 3.4%, and the 5/1 ARM declined to 3.04% from 3.19%. Write to Kerri Panchuk.