Rates Fall Back on Lower Inflation

Average mortgage rates across the board fell in the week ending June 18 after spiking briefly the week before, according to a survey released today by mortgage giant Freddie Mac (FRE). “Reports of benign inflation figures reversed the upward trend of mortgage rates this week,” however, “it’s still too early to tell whether the decline in housing market activity has hit bottom yet,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie’s chief economist, in a media statement today. Thirty-year fixed mortgages (FRMs) averaged 5.38% rates with an average 0.7 point, down from 5.59% last week. The average rate for a 15-year FRM came in at 4.89% with an average 0.7 point, from 5.06% last week. Five-year adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 4.97% with an average 0.6 point, from 5.17% last week, while one-year ARMs averaged 4.95% with an average 0.6 point, from 5.19% the week before. A separate survey conducted by Bankrate.com confirmed a drop in rates, with 30-year FRMs averaging 5.76% with an average 0.43 point, down from 5.96% the previous week. Bankrate’s data also found 15-year FRMs down to 5.19% from 5.37%. “The concerns about eventual inflation that drove bond yields and mortgage rates higher have been tempered by the reality of continued weakness in the economy,” Bankrate said in a media statement. Despite some gains seen in recent weeks, rates remain well below year-ago levels, with the monthly payment for a $200,000 30-year FRM this week coming to $1,168.42, according to Bankrate’s data. Last year at this time, 30-year FRMs averaged 6.62%, making the payment on the same mortgage 1,279.96. The difference in this scenario means a $111 monthly savings for homeowners refinancing today, Bankrate said. But rates have even further to fall if borrowers expect to obtain much-needed refinanced mortgages, says Field Check Group analyst Mark Hanson in market commentary Wednesday. “At present I estimate the there are $200bn in refi loan applications in process at lenders and brokers across the nation of which most will die unless rates get back at 5% with little cost — post-haste,” he says. Write to Diana Golobay. Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments.

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