Rates on Loans at or Near Historic Lows

By Inman News, Friday, October 9, 2009

Rates on several types of mortgages were at or near historic lows this week, helping spur demand for purchase and refinance loans, Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.87 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from 4.94 percent last week and 5.94 percent a year ago.

The 30-year fixed-rate hit a record low in records dating back to 1971 of 4.78 percent in April, in part due to a Federal Reserve program to purchase up to $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae.

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 4.33 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from 4.36 percent last week and 5.63 percent a year ago. The 15-year FRM has never been lower since Freddie Mac started tracking it in 1991.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 4.35 percent this week, with an average 0.5 point, down from 4.42 percent last week and 5.9 percent a year ago. That’s the lowest rate on 5-year ARMs since Freddie Mac started tracking those loans in 2005.

The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 4.53 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from 4.49 percent last week but down from 5.15 percent a year ago.

Refinancing a $200,000 30-year fixed-rate loan taken out at last year’s rates would shave almost  $134 off a borrower’s monthly payments, said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Mortgage applications were up 16.4 percent last week, with applications to refinance up 18.2 percent and purchase loan applications up 13.2 percent, the Mortgage Bankers Association said.