Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages were near record lows this week as instability in financial markets overseas had investors seeking safety in bonds and mortgage-backed securities, Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

Rates were headed back up today, however, as renewed confidence in markets had investors moving funds back into riskier investments.

Freddie Mac’s survey showed rates on conventional, conforming 30-year fixed-rate loans averaging 4.78 percent with an average of 0.7 point for the week ending May 27, down from 4.84 percent a week ago. That’s the lowest rate since the 4.71 percent average during the week of Dec. 3.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.21 percent with an average of 0.7 percent, down from 4.24 percent a week ago and 4.53 percent at the same time a year ago. That’s the lowest rate registered since Freddie Mac began tracking 15-year loans in August 1991.

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.97 percent, with an average 0.7 point, up from 3.91 percent a week ago and 4.28 percent last year.

The 1-year ARM averaged 3.95 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from 4 percent last week and 4.69 percent a year ago. That rate has not been lower since May 2004.

Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said low rates make homes more affordable, softening the effect of the expiration of the federal homebuyer tax credit.


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