RISMEDIA

May 2, 2011

Mortgage rates remained below the 5 percent mark, with the benchmark conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate inching lower to 4.95 percent, according to Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey. The average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.37 discount and origination points.

The average 15-year fixed mortgage stepped down to 4.14 percent, and the larger jumbo 30-year fixed rate reset the low point of the year at 5.40 percent. Adjustable rate mortgages were also lower, with the average 5-year ARM dipping to 3.69 percent and the 7-year ARM dropping to an even 4 percent.

Mortgage rates were lower this week, but the movement in mortgage rates continues to be tame. Mortgage rates have remained within a one-third percentage point band since mid-December. The Federal Reserve did little to rock the boat, holding interest rates steady and changing very little in the post-meeting statement. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s initial press release was a historic event, but uneventful. While the Federal Reserve confirmed that they will halt their bond purchases at the end of June, this has been widely expected and any resulting volatility in bond yields or mortgage rates is far from certain.

Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds.

The last time mortgage rates were above 6 percent was Nov. 2008. At the time, the average 30-year fixed rate was 6.33 percent, meaning a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,241.86. With the average rate now 4.95 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $1,067.54, a difference of $174 per month for anyone refinancing now.

The survey is complemented by Bankrate’s weekly Rate Trend Index, in which a panel of mortgage experts predicts which way the rates are headed over the next seven days. The vast majority of panelists, 77 percent, don’t see much of any movement in mortgage rates over the upcoming week. The remainder are split, with 15 percent predicting an increase in mortgage rates and just 8 percent forecasting a decline in mortgage rates over the next seven days.

For more information go to www.bankrate.com.