Mortgage rates settled back down this week, following a brief
spike that moved 30-year loans off the all-time lows where they had
been lodged for several weeks.
Interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped to an
average of 3.90 percent, slightly above their recent all-time lows,
down from 3.95 percent last week, according to today's Freddie Mac
weekly rate survey. Average rates on 15-year fixed-rate loans were
down as well, to 3.17 percent, down from 3.19 percent last
Meanwhile, average rates on 5-year adjustable rate mortgages
(ARMs) increased slightly, with the average initial rate on 5/1
ARMs rising to 2.83 percent, up from last week's 2.80 percent,
which matched the all-time low in the Freddie Mac report for that
The Freddie Mac all-time lows for the 30- and 15-year mortgages
were 3.87 percent and 3.14 percent, respectively, all reached
within the past four weeks. Record lows for different rates surveys
vary because of differences in how surveys are conducted and
assumptions made in calculating rates. The Freddie Mac figures are
based on rates with 0.8 points in origination fees for the
fixed-rate loans, and 0.7 points on the ARM.
Mortgage rates have remained at or below historic lows
throughout the first two months of the year, which has given a
boost to the housing market, according to Freddie Mac Chief
Economist Frank Nothaft. He noted that pending home sales in
January were at their strongest level in nearly two years,
according to recent data from the National Association of Realtors,
while yesterday's Beige Book report from the Federal Reserve noted
that residential real estate activity increased in most of the
nation during the first six weeks of the year.
Interest rates in the Freddie Mac weekly survey are based on
mortgages with an 80 percent loan to value ratio.