Mortgage Rates Above 5% as 2009 Ends
The year ends with mortgage rates just over 5%, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac (FRE). According to Freddie’s weekly survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.14% with an average 0.7 point for the week ending Dec. 31. The rate is up from last week’s 5.05% and from the same last year when it averaged 5.10%. The 15-year FRM averaged 4.54% with a 0.7 point, up from 4.45% last week and down from 4.83% a year ago. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 4.44% with an average 0.6 point, a slight increase from 4.4% last week. The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 4.33% this week with a 0.6 point, down from 4.38% last week, according to the survey. “Although long-term mortgage rates rose for the fourth week in a row, they still remain affordable by historical standards,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. He added that the monthly principal and interest payments for a 30-year FRM are close to 33% less than a decade ago when rates peaked at 8.6% in May 2000, based on today’s median loan amount of $138,000. Bankrate.com’s survey of large US banks and thrifts placed the 30-year FRM at 5.33%, up 9bps from the previous week and the lowest in the 24-year history of its survey. It also showed the 15-year FRM climbed 11bps to 4.73%. “The year 2009 will be remembered for having the lowest mortgage rates in generations, even as the government worked like the dickens to keep homeowners out of foreclosure,” according to Holden Lewis of Bankrate.com. Time will tell what we see in 2010, but most analysts predict rates will rise as the federal government backs off of an all-out effort to prop up the nation's housing markets. Write to Jon Prior.