Mortgage Rates Hit Seven-Week Low

Mortgage rates continued to fall this week, reaching a seven-week low. According to a weekly rate survey published Wednesday by Freddie Mac (FRE), 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.97 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending November 26, 2008, down from last week’s average of 6.04 percent and below the average of 6.10 percent recorded last year at this time. This week’s five-year treasury-indexed hybrid ARMs sat at 5.86 percent with an average 0.6 point, just barely below last week’s 5.87 percent average, according to Freddie Mac. Additionally, one-year Treasury-indexed ARMs fell from 5.29 percent last week to 5.18 percent with 0.5 point. “Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell for the fourth consecutive week as signs the overall economy is flagging lowered most interest rates market-wide,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.  “And economic growth in the third quarter was revised downward this week, led by the first decline in consumer spending since the fourth quarter of 1991 and the largest drop since the second quarter of 1980. However, declining house prices and low mortgage rates have raised housing affordability in September to the highest level since February of this year, according to the National Association of Realtors.”’s weekly mortage rate survey also reported a drop in mortgage rates. The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate, according to Bankrate, fell 6 basis points from last week, to 6.33 percent.  The average 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell 7 basis points, to 6.01 percent. As rates continue to fall, signals of a recession ring loud and clear, according to Bankrate’s Holden Lewis. When the Federal Reserve’s rate-setting committee met in late October, Lewis said, they hypothesized that a recession began in the third quarter of this year, and predicted that it would continue through the first half of 2009 — the upside? The picture looks considerably brighter for 2010. 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. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.

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