Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages are at a four-year low this week after a government report of massive layoffs in November pushed bond yields down, Freddie Mac reported.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.47 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending Dec. 11, down from 5.53 percent last week and 6.11 percent a year ago. The rate hasn’t been lower since March 25, 2004, when it averaged 5.40 percent.

Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages are at a four-year low this week after a government report of massive layoffs in November pushed bond yields down, Freddie Mac reported.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.47 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending Dec. 11, down from 5.53 percent last week and 6.11 percent a year ago. The rate hasn’t been lower since March 25, 2004, when it averaged 5.4 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.2 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from 5.33 last week and 5.78 percent a year ago.

"Following the release of the November employment report, which showed the largest monthly decline in jobs since December 1974, bond yields fell slightly this week allowing fixed-rate mortgage rates room to ease back a little further," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.

Rates on adjustable-rate mortgages, however, headed in the opposite direction.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 5.82 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from 5.77 last week but down from 5.89 percent a year ago.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 5.09 percent with an average 0.4 point, up from 5.02 percent last week but down 5.5 percent from a year ago.

Looking back to the week ending Dec. 5, the Mortgage Bankers Association said applications for mortgages fell 7.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, with applications for purchase loans falling 17.4 percent. Applications for refinance loans were essentially flat, declining by 0.9 percent from the previous week, the MBA said in releasing the results of its weekly survey.

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