Mortgage rates continued their record-setting ways this week, with 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dipping to an average of 4.32 percent and 0.7 point, Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
That’s down from last week’s record low of 4.36 percent, and compares to an average of 5.08 percent at the same time last year.
Rates on 15-year fixed-rate loans also hit a new low during the week ending Sept. 2, falling to 3.83 percent with an average 0.6 point. That’s down from 3.86 percent last week and 4.54 percent a year ago.
The average rate for 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans averaged 3.54 percent with an average 0.6 point, also a record. That’s down from 3.56 percent last week and 4.59 percent a year ago.
Only 1-year Treasury-indexed ARMs, which averaged 3.5 percent this week with an average 0.7 point, did not set a new record, despite falling from 3.52 percent last week and 4.62 percent a year ago.
Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Amy Crews Cutts said the modest growth in prices for consumer goods helped keep inflation expectations "well at bay."
Expectations that inflation won’t take off anytime soon, coupled with continued volatility in stock markets, makes the mortgage-backed securities (MBS) that fund most home loans attractive to investors. Increased demand for MBS pushes their prices up and their yields down, resulting in lower interest rates for homebuyers.
In an Aug. 17 forecast, economists with the Mortgage Bankers Association projected rates on 30-year fixed-rate loans will rise to an average of 4.8 percent during the fourth quarter of this year, and stay around 5 percent most of next year before climbing to nearly 6 percent by the final quarter of 2012.