Mortgage rates still heading south


Mortgage interest rates have fallen for the 10th time in the last 11 weeks, according to Freddie Mac’s report on what lenders are offering to borrowers with solid credit and 20% down payments or home equity.

Freddie Mac’s weekly survey found that the offering rate for 30-year fixed loans averaged 4.32%, down from 4.36% a week ago. The borrowers would have paid 0.7% in fees and points to the lenders upfront. That’s the lowest since Freddie Mac, the giant government-backed buyer of mortgages, began keeping track in 1971.

Fifteen-year fixed loans averaged 3.83% with 0.6% in upfront fees, down from 3.86% a week ago, the lowest rate since Freddie began tracking the 15-year loan in 1991.

The average initial fixed rate for five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid loans, which become variable after five years, was 3.54% with 0.6% in fees, down from 3.56%, the survey showed — the lowest since tracking began in 2005.

As the Mortgage Bankers Assn. reported Wednesday, nearly 83% of mortgages these days are taken out by borrowers refinancing their existing loans to save money. The volume of purchase-money loans remains extremely low despite the extraordinary rates and home prices that have declined sharply in many areas.

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