Freddie Mac: Mortgage interest rates fall below 5 percent for third week this year

Thirty-year mortgage interest rates fell below 5 percent for the third week this year, according to a Freddie Mac survey released yesterday. For the week that ended Feb. 11, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage had an average 4.97 percent rate, down from 5.01 percent for the week earlier and from 5.16 percent for the same week last year. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was down to 4.34 percent from 4.40 percent during the week-ago period and 4.81 percent in the year-ago period. Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.19 percent, down from 4.27 percent last week, while their one-year counterparts were up to 4.33 percent from 4.22 percent one week ago. The drop in interest rates on fixed-rate mortgages “helps a number of homeowners to refinance their existing housing debt,” said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac, noting that the latest survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association found that more than two-thirds of mortgage applications have been for refinancing since the start of 2010. “In mid-June of last year, for example, 30-year fixed-mortgage rates topped nearly 5.6 percent. Currently, the monthly payments would be almost $77 per month lower on a $200,000 loan balance.” TRD

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