Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages eligible for purchase by Freddie Mac tied a record low this week, averaging 4.78 percent with an average 0.7 point.

That’s down from 4.8 percent last week and 6.06 percent a year ago, Freddie Mac said, and ties an April 7 low in records going back to 1970.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.48 percent this week with an average 0.7 point,  unchanged for the third week in a row but down from 5.59 percent a year ago. It’s the lowest the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage has been since Freddie Mac began tracking those loans in August, 1991.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 4.8 percent with an average 0.6 point, down 4.85 percent last week and 5.73 percent a year ago. That’s the lowest the 5-year ARM has been since Freddie Mac began tracking it in January 2005.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 4.77 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from 4.82 percent last week and 5.29 percent a year ago.

Those rates and fees are for borrowers with good credit making 20 percent down payments. Borrowers making smaller down payments or taking out loans too large or risky for purchase by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can expect to pay more.

Interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages eligible for purchase by Freddie Mac are down more than 1.6 percentage points from their recent peak in October, representing savings of about $212 a month on a $200,000 loan. Borrowers who refinanced during the first quarter reduced their mortgage payments by about $2.5 billion over the coming year, Freddie Mac said. …CONTINUED

Low rates — largely the result of massive government purchases of mortage-backed securities — have spurred a rush to refinance, with the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) forecasting that seven out of 10 mortgages originated this year will be refinancings (see story).

For the week ending April 24, however, the MBA’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey showed a sharp drop in requests for loans from the previous week.

Mortgage application volume was down 18.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous week. Applications for refinance loans were down 21.9 percent, while applications for purchase loans were down 0.6 percent. Applications for conventional purchase loans were down 1.4 percent, but requests for government-backed loans, largely FHA, picked up by 0.8 percent.

Applications for refinancings accounted for 75.3 percent of total applications, down from 79.7 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 2.1 percent, up from 1.4 percent the previous week.

Compared to a year ago, applications for refinancings were up 168 percent, and applications for purchase loans were down 26 percent.


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