30-year Rates Fall for Third Consecutive Week

January 21, 2010

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.99 percent with an average of .7 point for the week ending Jan. 21, according to Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed rate is down from 5.06 percent. Last year at this time, the FRM averaged 5.12 percent. Freddie Mac reported, the 15-year FRM this week averaged 4.40 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.45 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.80 percent.

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 4.27 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.32 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 5.24 percent.

The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 4.32 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.39 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 4.92 percent. (Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total cost of obtaining the mortgage.)

"Fixed mortgage rates followed bond yields lower for the third consecutive week, pushing 30-year mortgages below 5 percent once more," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. "Similarly, ARM rates eased along with shorter-term rates, as the federal funds futures market indicates no increase in the Federal Reserve's target rate following its upcoming committee meeting on January 26th and 27th.

Nothaft added: "Because of reduced sample sizes and work disruptions that occur with severe weather, housing starts tend to be more volatile during winter months. And, indeed, housing starts declined 4.0 percent in December, falling short of the market consensus of no change. Building permits, which are less vulnerable to weather interruptions, unexpectedly jumped 10.9 percent."