Fixed-Rate Mortgages Ease

After a slight rise last week, most mortgage rates receded in the week ending April 16, with the exception of One-Year ARMs, according to Freddie Mac’s (FRE) Primary Mortgage Market Survey released today. 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.82% with an average 0.6 point, down from last week’s 4.87% average, and far below the average last year at this time — 5.88%. This week’s 15-year fixed-rate mortgage hit an all-time low, averaging 4.48%, compared to 4.54% last week and 5.4% a year ago at this time, Freddie Mac said. Five-year Treasury-indexed ARMs also plunged to a record low, posting the lowest reading since Freddie Mac began tracking ARMs in January 2005. Sitting at 4.88% this week, 15-year rates were below last week’s 4.93% average and well below the year-ago average of 5.48%. One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs were the exception to the falling trend, averaging 4.91% this week with an average 0.7 point, up from last week’s 4.83% average.  At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 5.10 percent. “The housing industry is starting to exhibit some positive signs, albeit scarce and too early to tell how permanent,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. In its April 15th regional economic report, the Federal Reserve reported that better-than-expected buyer traffic led to a scattered pickup in home sales in a number of its Districts over the 6-week period ending on April 6th.  Factors such as homebuyer tax credits, low mortgage rates, and more affordable prices were cited as leading to more potential buyers. “This may have added to the rise in homebuilder confidence in April, which rose to the highest level in six months, according to the National Association of Home Builders,” Nothaft says. A separate rates survey conducted by also found mortgage rates eased slightly this week. According to Bankrate, the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate fell 2 basis points to 5.18%, while the benchmark 15-year fixed-rate fell 3 basis points to 4.72%. Write to Kelly Curran at Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments.

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