Mortgage rates eased slightly this week, staying near record lows amid uncertainty about the strength of the economic recovery.
The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee said Wednesday that it expects to maintain "a highly accommodative stance for monetary policy" to support a stronger economic recovery, but announced no changes to existing policies.
Labor market conditions have improved in recent months, the committee noted, but the unemployment remains elevated. Despite some signs of improvement, the housing sector "remains depressed," the committee noted.
Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaging 3.88 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending April 26, down from 3.9 percent last week and 4.78 percent a year ago. Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages hit an all-time low in records dating to 1971 of 3.87 percent during the first three weeks of February.
For 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, rates averaged 3.12 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from 3.13 percent last week and 3.97 percent a year ago. Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages hit an all-time low in records dating to 1991 of 3.11 percent during the week ending April 12.
Rates on five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans averaged 2.85 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from 2.78 percent last week but down from 3.51 percent a year ago. Last week’s rates for five-year ARMs were at an all-time low in records dating to 2005.
For one-year Treasury-indexed ARMs, rates averaged 2.74 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from 2.81 percent last week and 3.15 percent a year ago. Rates on one-year ARMs hit an all-time low in records dating to 1984 of 2.72 percent during the week ending March 1.
Looking back a week, a separate survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed demand for purchase mortgages during the week ending April 20 was up a seasonally adjusted 2.7 percent from the week before, to a level essentially unchanged from a year ago.