Mortgage Rates Tick Lower

The Wall Street Journal

7 January 2010

Home-mortgage rates eased in the latest week, falling slightly after several weeks that saw mostly sharp increases, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of mortgage rates.

Rates had slumped for months, setting record lows in the process, as yields on Treasurys slid amid economic uncertainty. But yields began to rise near the end of last near, prodding rates higher. Mortgage rates generally track yields, which move inversely to Treasury prices.

Still, rates remain lower than they were at the beginning of last year, “which should help aid the recovery in the housing market,” said Freddie Chief Economist Frank Nothaft.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.77% for the week ended Thursday, down from the prior week’s 4.86% average and down from 5.09% a year ago. Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages were 4.13%, down from 4.2% in the previous week and 4.5% a year earlier.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.75%, down from the prior week’s 3.77% and down from 4.44% a year earlier. One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs fell to 3.24% from 3.26% and 4.31%, respectively.

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