Mortgage rates still in free fall

Borrowers stay on sidelines as fixed-rate loans hit new lows for year

Rates on fixed-rate mortgages declined for a seventh week in a row to new lows for the year amid concerns about weak economic and housing data, Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

Low rates haven’t done much to spur home purchases and there’s been no rush to refinance, a separate survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed.

Freddie Mac’s survey showed rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.55 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending June 2, down from 4.6 percent last week and 4.79 percent a year ago.

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages hit an all-time low in Freddie Mac records dating to 1971 of 4.17 percent during the week ending Nov. 11, 2010, and hit a 2011 high of 5.05 percent in February.

Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.74 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from 3.78 percent last week and 4.2 percent a year ago. Rates on 15-year mortgages hit an all-time low in records dating back to 1991 of 3.57 percent in November.

For 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans, rates averaged 3.41 percent with an average 0.6 point, unchanged from last week but down from 3.94 percent a year ago. The 5-year ARM hit a low in records dating to 2005 of 3.25 percent in November.

Rates on 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM loans averaged 3.13 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from 3.11 percent last week but down from 3.95 percent a year ago.

Looking back a week, the MBA’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey showed demand for purchase loans was unchanged for the week ending May 27 compared to the week before after adjusting for seasonal factors. Demand for purchase loans was up 7.6 percent from the same time a year ago.

Demand for refinancings was down 5.7 percent from the previous week, but requests to refinance still accounted for 65.7 percent of all mortgage applications.

The last time mortgage rates were this low, refinance volume was more than 20 percent higher, said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics. Many borrowers probably can’t qualify to refinance because they lack equity in their homes, he said.

In a May 18 forecast, Fratantoni’s research team said they expect rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages to rise to an average of 5.5 percent during the final three months of this year, and continue a gradual rise to an average of 5.9 percent during the fourth quarter of 2012.


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