Mortgage rates dip, still above record lows
Average rate for a standard 30-year, fixed-rate loan is 5.08 percent
The Associated Press
September 3, 2009
Rates for 30-year home loans edged down this week, remaining close to record lows reached over the spring.
The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 5.08 percent, down from 5.14 percent a week earlier, mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday. Rates, while above the record low of 4.78 percent hit in the spring, are still at attractive levels for people looking to buy a home or refinance.
“Low mortgage rates are helping to keep housing very affordable,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said in a statement.
To revive the economy, the Federal Reserve is spending $1.25 trillion on mortgage-backed securities, which has driven down rates on home loans. That money is set to run out by winter, though some analysts expect the central bank to gradually scale back its purchases, allowing the program to last longer.
Despite government efforts to prop up the mortgage market, qualifying for a loan is still tough. Lenders have tightened their standards dramatically, so the best rates are available to those with solid credit and a 20 percent down payment.
Freddie Mac collects mortgage rates on Monday through Wednesday of each week from lenders around the country. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a given day.
The average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.54 percent, from 4.58 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac.
Rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.59 percent, down from 4.67 percent a week earlier. Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 4.62 percent from 4.69 percent.
The rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The nationwide fee for all loans in Freddie Mac’s survey averaged 0.7 point for 30-year loans and 0.6 point for 15-year, five-year and one-year loans.
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