The Wall Street Journal

19 August  2011

Mortgage rates in the U.S. continued their decline over the past week, hitting new lows amid concerns about the economic outlook in the U.S. and fallout from Europe’s sovereign-debt problems, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of mortgage rates.

Refinancings averaged about 70% of all mortgage activity in the first half of the year, as homeowners took advantage of low rates, according to Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.15% for the week ended Thursday, down from 4.32% the previous week and last year’s rate of 4.42%. Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.36%, down from last week’s 3.5%, and last year’s 3.9%.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.08%, down from 3.13% last week and 3.56% a year ago.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARM rates averaged 2.86%, down from a rate of 2.89% in the prior week and 3.53% in the prior year.

To obtain the rates, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages required an average payment of 0.7 point, while 15-year fixed rates required an average 0.6 point payment.

Five-year adjustable rate mortgages required an average 0.5-point payment, while one-year adjustable rates required an average 0.6 point payment. A point is 1% of the mortgage amount, charged as prepaid interest.