Mortgage Rates Drop to Start New Year
Mortgage rates declined in the first editions of two weekly surveys. Freddie Mac (FRE) put the average rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages (FRM) at 5.09% with a 0.7 point for the week ending January 7, compared to a week ago when it was 5.14%. A year ago, the average rate was 5.01%. Bankrate.com’s survey of large banks and thrifts put the rate for 30-year FRM at 5.26% with a 0.43 point, down from a week ago when it was 5.16%. A year ago, the Bankrate.com survey had the rate at 5.33%. Freddie said 15-year FRM averaged at 4.50%, down from last week’s 4.54% and last year’s 4.62%. Bankrate.com said the 15-year FRM was 4.67%, down from 4.73% a week ago. Freddie said the five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) held steady from last week at 4.44%. Freddie also put the one-year Treasury-indexed ARM at 4.31%, down from last week’s 4.33%. Bankrate.com put the five-year ARM rate at 4.74%, down from last week’s rate of 4.77%. Mortgage rates could remain low as the Federal Reserve is considering extending and expanding its initiatives to buy assets from Freddie, Fannie Mae (FNM) and Ginnie Mae. The government influence in the lending market is being mirrored across the pond. The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee voted Thursday to maintain the official bank rate paid on commercial bank reserves at 0.5%. The rate was reduced its current level in March and has held since. The committee also voted to continue its own asset purchase program and plans to buy up £200bn (US $318.8) in assets financed by the issuance of central bank reserves. Write to Austin Kilgore.