Mortgage Rates Drop Again

After long-term mortgage rates surpassed short-term rates last week, all rates continued to drop in the week ending April 30, according to Freddie Mac’s (FRE) Primary Mortgage Market Survey released today. 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.78% with an average 0.7 point, down from last week’s 4.80% average, and matching the record low set the week of April 7, 2009. This week’s 15-year fixed-rate mortgage remains unchanged for the third week in a row, sitting at 4.48%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged a significantly higher 5.59%. “Rates for fixed-rate mortgages hovered at record lows this week as ARM rates eased further,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.  “Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages, the most popular loan among homebuyers and families seeking to refinance, are more than 1.6 percentage points below the recent peak set at the end of October 2008.  For a $200,000 loan, this means a monthly savings of almost $212 in mortgage payments or over $2,500 per year.” As for the easing ARM rates, Five-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 4.80% this week — not surpassing the 30-year fixed rate, but equalling it nonetheless. Last week’s average sat at a slightly higher 4.85%. One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs took a fall as well, from 4.82% last week to 4.77% this week. “The housing market may be edging towards a bottom,” says Nothaft. “Existing home sales stayed near its four-month average in March while new home sales were stronger than the market consensus.  More importantly, the inventory of unsold new homes fell to the lowest number since January 2002.” Additionally, the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite index did not show a record year-over-year decline in February for the first time since December 2006.  And housing affordability hit record highs in the first quarter of this year, according to figures from the National Association of Realtors. A separate rates survey conducted by found mortgage rates remained nearly unchanged from last week’s readings. Bankrate found the benchmark for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages sat at 5.23%, while the benchmark 15-year fixed-rate slipped 3 basis points to 4.73%. Write to Kelly Curran at [email protected].

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