Long-term Mortgage Rates Remain Relatively Flat This Week, Still Below 5 Percent

Residential News » Residential Real Estate Edition | By Michael Gerrity | March 18, 2010 1:35 PM ET

(MCLEAN, VA) - According to Freddie Mac's (NYSE:FRE) newest results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.96 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending March 18, 2010. This is up slightly from last week when it averaged 4.95 percent.  Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.98 percent.

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 4.33 percent with an average 0.6 point, up slightly from last week when it averaged 4.32 percent.  A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.61 percent.

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 4.09 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 4.05 percent.  A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 4.98 percent.

The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 4.12 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.22 percent.  At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 4.91 percent.

"Mortgage rates for fixed-rate mortgages were virtually unchanged this week as the effects of the prior storms emerged in recent housing data," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.  "New construction slowed by 5.9 percent in February to 575,000 homes.  Both the South and Northeast regions had all the declines due to the snow storms.  In addition, homebuilder confidence unexpectedly dipped in March according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.

"With house prices starting to stabilize and even rise, homeowners on aggregate are slowly building back equity in their homes based on figures from the Federal Reserve Board.  After losing almost $7.9 trillion in home equity since the end of 2006, homeowners regained almost $1.1 trillion over the past three quarters ending in 2009."

Freddie Mac was established by Congress in 1970 to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the nation's residential mortgage markets. Freddie Mac supports communities across the nation by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Over the years, Freddie Mac has made home possible for one in six homebuyers and more than five million renters.

Freddie Mac defines its regions as follows:

Northeast: NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, DC, VA, WV, ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT
Southeast: NC, SC, TN, KY, GA, AL, FL, MS, PR, VI 
North Central: OH, IN, IL, MI, WI, MN, IA, ND, SD 
Southwest: TX, LA, NM, OK, AR, MO, KS, CO, NE, WY 
West: CA, AZ, NV, OR, WA, UT, ID, MT, HI, AK, GU

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