May 28, 2009

Weekly Freddie: Mortgage Rates lat This Week

30-year fixed-rate mortgage: Averaged 4.82 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending May 21, 2009, down from last week when it averaged 4.86 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 5.98 percent.

15-year fixed-rate mortgage: Averaged 4.50 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.52 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 5.55 percent.

Five-year Treasury ARMs: Averaged 4.79 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.82 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 5.61 percent.

One-year ARMs: Averaged 4.82 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 4.71 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 5.24 percent.

Freddie Says:

Long-term fixed-rate mortgage rates have remained below 5.0 percent for the past 10 weeks as the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve (Fed) act to keep interest rates low through security purchases, said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. The Treasury purchased $136 billion in mortgage-backed securities through April and the Fed bought $740 billion through mid-May. In addition, the Fed purchased $115 billion in Treasury bonds since March of this year.

Housing construction continued to decline, as total starts fell to the lowest level since the Census Bureau began its monthly series in January 1959. While single-family construction appears to be near or at a bottom, multi-unit construction continued to recede. Reflecting the apparent stabilization in single-family construction levels, homebuilder confidence rose in May to the highest level since September 2008 and represented the first back-to-back up tick since February 2008.

Howard Bell

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