Long-term mortgage rates dropped this week as concerns over the housing market’s recovery intensified, Freddie Mac and Bankrate.com reported in separate surveys.
In Freddie Mac’s survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage sank to an average 6.69 percent from last week’s 6.73 percent, and the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage dipped to 6.37 percent from 6.38 percent. Points, which are fees lenders charge for loan processing expressed as a percent of the loan, averaged 0.4 on the 30- and 15-year loans.
Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) costs also dropped this week, with the five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM falling from 6.35 percent to 6.3 percent and the one-year ARM slipping from 5.72 percent to 5.69 percent. Points on these loans averaged 0.4 and 0.5, respectively.
“Mortgage rates eased this week on market concerns that a further weakening of housing demand this spring will delay any recovery in the sector,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “For example, building permits fell last month to the slowest pace in a decade, and more recent data on June sales of existing homes showed a fourth consecutive monthly decline.”
Nothaft added that tightened lending standards, especially for subprime mortgages, and the 40-basis-point jump in 30-year fixed mortgage rates last month likely deterred more Americans from buying homes.
In Bankrate.com’s survey, mortgage rates retreated, with the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate now 6.75 percent, and discount and origination points averaging 0.29.
The average 15-year fixed-rate mortgage popular for refinancing pulled back to 6.42 percent, Bankrate.com reported, and on larger loans, the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate dipped to 7.03 percent. Adjustable-rate mortgages were more volatile, with the average 5/1 ARM sinking to 6.41 percent and the average one-year ARM plunging to 6.02 percent.
Bankrate.com noted that mortgage rates have seesawed within a now-familiar range over the past seven weeks. The past week saw investors flocking to the safety of Treasury securities, pushing the yield on the 10-year note below 5 percent. The decline in mortgage rates was more modest as investors mark up the spreads over risk-free government bonds to compensate for heightened credit-quality concerns. While mortgage rates move in relation to yields on long-term government bonds, the spread between Treasury yields and mortgage rates is not static, and as we are seeing now, can expand in times of nervousness or contract when investors feel more confident about borrowers’ payment capabilities.
Fixed mortgage rates are nearly one-half percentage point higher than three months ago, according to Bankrate.com. At the time, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.27 percent, meaning that a $165,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,018. With the average 30-year fixed rate now 6.75 percent, the same loan originated today would carry a monthly payment of $1,070.
The following is a sampling of Bankrate.com’s average 30-year-mortgage interest rates this week in some U.S. metropolitan areas:
New York – 6.75 percent with 0.09 point
Los Angeles – 6.81 percent with 0.44 point
Chicago – 6.79 percent with 0.08 point
San Francisco – 6.7 percent with 0.53 point
Philadelphia – 6.76 percent with 0.23 point
Detroit – 6.8 percent with 0.04 point
Boston – 6.8 percent with 0.09 point
Houston – 6.74 percent with 0.48 point
Dallas – 6.71 percent with 0.37 point
Washington, D.C. – 6.64 percent with 0.51 point