Real Estate Notes

30-year mortgage rates hit six-week low

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Rates for 30-year, fixed mortgages have fallen to their lowest level in six weeks, Freddie Mac said Thursday.

The average rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages was 5 percent this week, down from last week's average of 5.06 percent. A year ago, 30-year, fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.84 percent, Freddie Mac said.

The average rate on a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.36 percent, down from 4.39 percent last week.

Rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.97 percent, down from 4 percent a week earlier. Rates on one-year ARMs dipped to 4.07 percent from 4.25 percent.

The rates do not include fees known as points. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The nationwide fee for loans in Freddie Mac's survey averaged 0.7 of a point for 30-year, 15-year, and five-year loans, and 0.6 of a point for one-year loans.

The fiscal crisis in Greece is pushing investors to buy U.S. Treasurys, whose yields serve as a benchmark for other debt. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was 3.54 percent, compared with 3.72 a week ago. Yields on government-supported bonds tied to home loans are tracking that decline, so mortgage lenders can reduce their rates and still sell the loans to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae at a profit.

Cheaper loan costs may blunt the anticipated decline in home buying due to the April 30 expiration of a government tax credit for house purchases

Home sales rose in March as buyers took advantage of the tax break. New home sales surged 27 percent in March, the biggest gain since recordkeeping began in 1963, the Commerce Department said April 23. The index of signed purchase agreements to buy previously owned homes rose 5.3 percent in March, the National Association of Realtors said this week.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's index of mortgage applications rose 4 percent in the week ended April 30. The refinance portion fell 2.1 percent. Purchase applications gained 13 percent.

-- From News Services

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