Mortgage Rates Mostly Flat This Week, Still Lingering Near Record Lows

Mon, Jul 19, 2010


By: Brittany Dunn

Very little activity was seen in the realm of mortgage rates this week, as the historical lows observed in weeks past held fairly steady, Freddie Mac and Bankrate reported Thursday.

According to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.57 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending July 15, 2010, unchanged from last week. This marked the second week in a row that rates came in at an all-time record low in Freddie Mac’s 39-year survey.

Freddie Mac reported minor activity in 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, which averaged 4.06 percent with an average 0.7 point this week. Rates fell just slightly from last week’s average of 4.07 percent.

“Fixed-rate mortgages continued to hover at 50-year lows, thereby supporting homebuyer affordability and refinance activity,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac VP

and chief economist. “Compared to the recent peak in 30-year fixed interest rates 13 months ago (week of June 11, 2009), current rates are a full percentage point lower. With today’s rates, homebuyers would save about $1,500 in payments each year on a $200,000 loan compared to rates last June.”

Bankrate reported an uptick in rates this week, but the movement was marginal. According to the tracking company’s weekly national survey, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.77 percent with an average 0.41 point this week, edging up from 4.74 percent the week prior. And 15-year fixed-rate mortgages came in at 4.23 percent with an average 0.39 point, inching up from last week’s average of 4.22 percent.

“Upbeat corporate earnings and improving investor sentiment pushed mortgage rates slightly higher this week,” Bankrate said. “This comes after a run of downbeat economic news and a prevailing fear that the economy was headed for a double-dip recession that had been driving mortgage rates lower as recently as one week ago.”

Going forward, Bankrate said further evidence of economic improvement and positive outlooks for the second half of 2010 will be necessary to drive mortgage rates higher, while any disappointing news will once again have investors stampeding into the safety of Treasury securities. According to the tracking company, the lingering uncertainty about whether the economy gets better or worse from here will help keep rates at ultra-low levels, at least for the time being.


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