Low Mortgage Rates Help Stabilize Housing Market


August 31, 2009

Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.14% with an average 0.7 point for the week ending August 27, 2009, up from last week when it averaged 5.12%. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.40%.

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 4.58% with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 4.56%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 5.93 percent. Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 4.67% this week, with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.57%. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 6.03 percent. One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 4.69% this week with an average 0.6 point, unchanged from last week when it averaged 4.69%. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 5.33%.

“Long-term mortgage rates were barely changed this week, remaining historically low, which is helping to sustain a high level of affordability in the home-purchase market,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.” Low rates contributed to existing home sales rising for the fourth consecutive month to an annual pace of 5.24 million in July, the most since August 2007, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

“Similarly, new home sales rose for the fourth month in a row to 0.4 million, the strongest pace since September 2008, the Commerce Department reported. The sales gain helped to reduce the number of new unsold houses on the market to the lowest amount since March 1993. In addition, house prices in June rose nationally for the second consecutive month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s purchase-only house price index.”