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2012-01-15 21:42:17
Mortgage Rates Set New Lows, 30-Year at 3.89%

Posted: 12 Jan 2012 01:18 PM PST

Fixed and adjustable mortgage rates slipped to all-time record lows for the past seven days, with the average for the 30-year loan marking the sixth consecutive week below 4 percent.

The 30-year-fixed averaged 3.89 percent, down from the previous record low of 3.91 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac.  The record low for the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.16 percent.

“Mortgage rates eased slightly this week to all-time record lows following mixed indicators in the labor market,” said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac. “Although the economy added 1.6 million jobs in 2011, which was the most since 2006, the unemployment rate remained historically elevated.

The 2009-2011 period had the highest three-year average unemployment rate since 1939 to 1941, helping keep mortgage rates near or at historic lows for much of the second half of 2011, Nothaft said. More downward pressure on rates is expected for much of this year, as the Federal Reserve has committed to a near-zero benchmark federal funds rate “at least through mid-2013.”

Meanwhile, mortgage applications for both purchases and refinancing increased 4.5 percent last week, compared to the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The refinancing share of mortgage activity decreased to 80.8 percent of total applications, from the previous week’s survey high of 81.9 percent, the MBA said.

Here are the latest rates from Freddie Mac:

  • § 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.89 percent, with an average
    0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.91 percent. Last year at this
    time, the 30-year averaged 4.71 percent.
  • § 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.16 percent, with an average 0.8
    point, down from last week when it averaged 3.23 percent. A year ago at this
    time, the 15-year, averaged 4.08 percent.
  • § 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM)
    averaged 2.82 percent, with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it
    averaged 2.86 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.72 percent.

1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.76 percent, with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.80 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 3.23 percent.

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