WSJ: Mortgage Rates Fall, Extend Record Lows

By NATHAN BECKER
Mortgage rates fell in the past week, with the average rates on 30- and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages further extending record lows, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey.

Rates have been at or near record lows as the Treasury market has rallied amid stock-market volatility, pushing yields lower. Mortgage rates generally track Treasury yields.

The decline over the past few weeks also “echoes the recent signs of weakening confidence in the strength of the economy, particularly the housing and consumer sectors,” said Freddie Chief Economist Frank Nothaft.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.56% for the week ended Thursday, down from the prior week’s 4.57% average and 5.2% a year ago. Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages were 4.03%, down from 4.06% and 4.68%, respectively.

Both the 30- and 15-year mortgage rates are at the lowest point since Freddie started tracking them, 1971 and 1991, respectively.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.79%, lower than the prior week’s 3.85% and 4.74% a year earlier. One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs hit a fresh low of 3.7%, down from 3.74% and 4.77%, respectively. That loan type has been followed by Freddie since 1984.

To obtain the rates, the five-year fixed-rate mortgages required payment of an average 0.6 point and the others required an average 0.7 point. A point is 1% of the mortgage amount, charged as prepaid interest.

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