Mortgage rates were relatively even from last week, according to two weekly surveys. The Freddie Mac (FRE) weekly survey put the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) at 5.07% with a 0.7 origination point, steady from last week’s average rate. A year ago, the average rate was 4.8%. The Bankrate.com survey of large banks and thrifts put the average rate for a 30-year FRM at 5.22% with a 0.42 origination point, up from 5.21% last week. Freddie said the 15-year FRM averaged 4.39% with an average 0.6 point, down from last week’s average of 4.4%, and from a year ago, when it averaged 4.48%. Bankrate.com put the rate for a 15-year FRM at 4.55% with a 0.42 point, down from 4.54% last week. “These low mortgage rates are revitalizing the home construction industry,” said Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist Frank Nothaft. “For instance, although new building of one-family homes slowed slightly between February and March by an annualized rate of 0.9%, this was primarily due to a 33.7% drop in the Midwest. The other three regions rose to their strongest pace since the second half of 2008.” “In addition, builder confidence rose more than the market consensus in April to the highest level since September 2009, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index,” Nothaft added. “During the same month, the builder gauge of current home sales increased to its highest since March 2008.” Freddie said the five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 4.03%, with a 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.08%. Last year, the five-year ARM averaged 4.85%. Bankrate.com put the average rate for a five-year ARM at 4.42% with a 0.42 point, down from last week’s average of 4.46%. Freddie said the one-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 4.22% with a 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 4.13% but down from last year’s average of 4.82%. Write to Austin Kilgore. The author held no relevant investments.
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