Mortgage rates fall back near historical lows

By Max Thompson
September 24th, 2012

Homebuyer affordability high right now

Mortgage rates are back at or near historical lows yet again after weekly declines, Freddie Mac said in its most recent weekly mortgage report.

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending September 20, 2012, fixed mortgage rates dropped sharply week-over-week, keeping homebuyer affordability high.

Average interest rates for fixed mortgages break records

Both 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to all-time record low marks.

Average rates for 30-year fixed mortgages dropped to 3.49 percent after averaging 3.55 percent the previous week. The 3.49 percent mark ties the all-time record low for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages.

Meanwhile, shorter-term 15-year fixed mortgages set a new all-time record low, averaging 2.77 percent after coming in at 2.85 percent one week earlier.

One year ago at this time, 30-year fixed mortgages averaged 4.09 percent and 15-year fixed mortgages averaged 3.29 percent.

Mixed results for ARMs

Rates for adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) saw mixed results in this latest data, Freddie Mac said.

Average rates for 5-year ARMs rose week-over-week, from an average of 2.72 percent last week to 2.76 percent this week, while 1-year ARMs remained even at an average interest rate of 2.61 percent.

“Following the Federal Reserve’s announcement of a new bond purchase plan, yields on mortgage-backed securities fell bringing average fixed mortgage rates to their all-time record lows which should aid in the ongoing housing recovery,” Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac, said in a statement.

Nothaft also made note of positive home construction and home sales data in recent weeks.

“New construction on one-family homes rebounded in August, rising by 5.5 percent to the fastest pace since April 2010,” he said. “In addition, existing home sales increased by 7.8 percent in August to its strongest pace since May 2010.”