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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 07/12/2012

Mortgage rates plummet to historic lows

Mortgage rates continued their plummet to historic lows, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average sank to a record-low 3.56 percent, down from 3.62 percent last week and 4.51 percent a year ago. The 30-year rate has lingered below 4 percent for 16 consecutive weeks.

The 15-year fixed-rate average remained below 3 percent for the seventh consecutive week. The average of 2.86 percent was down from 2.89 percent last week and 3.65 percent a year ago.

The hybrid adjustable rate mortgages also resided below 3 percent again this week. The one-year ARM was 2.69 percent, up from 2.68 percent a week ago and 2.95 percent a year ago.

The five-year ARM fell to 2.74 percent, down from last week’s 2.79 percent. A year ago, it was 3.29 percent.

According to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, a weak employment report and easing bond yields contributed to the rates’ decline.

“Following a lackluster employment report for June, long-term U.S. Treasury bond yields eased somewhat this week allowing fixed mortgage rates to reach yet another record low,” Nothaft said in a statement. “Only 80,000 net new jobs were added to the economy last month, not enough to lower the unemployment rate from 8.2 percent.”

Meanwhile, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday that the number of applications for mortgages fell.

The Market Composite Index, which measures loan application volume, declined 2.1 percent and the Refinance Index dropped 3 percent from the previous week.

The refinance activity continued to account for the largest portion of total applications but was down to 77 percent.

On Monday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal consumer watchdog agency, proposed banning several controversial mortgage fees and unveiled new disclosure forms intended to help borrowers better understand the terms of their home loans.

More Real Estate news:

Report is good news for homeowners, but not home buyers

Report optimistic about D.C. condo market

By  |  10:00 AM ET, 07/12/2012

 
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