The Wall Street Journal

8 March 2012

Mortgage rates in the U.S. declined over the past week as rates continued to hold near record lows, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of mortgage rates. For the week ended Thursday, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.88%, compared with 3.9% the previous week and 4.88% a year ago.

Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.13%, compared with 3.17% a week earlier and 4.15% a year ago. This shorter-term mortgage is a popular option for refinancing, and the latest rate marks a new record low in the survey, which has tracked the 15-year fixed since 1991.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, averaged 2.81%, compared with 2.83% the prior week and 3.73% a year ago.

To obtain the rates, 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages required an average 0.8 point payment. Five-year and one-year adjustable rate mortgages required an average 0.7 point and 0.6 point payment, respectively. A point is 1% of the mortgage amount, charged as prepaid interest.