Fixed-rate Mortgage Rates

January 15, 2004

Drop To Lowest Level in More Than Six MonthsSluggish Employment Figures Put A Damper On Financial Markets

McLEAN, VA -- In Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.66 percent, with an average 0.6 point, for the week ending January 15, 2004, down from 5.87 percent last week. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 5.97 percent. This is the lowest the 30-year FRM has been since the week ending July 11, 2003, when it averaged 5.52 percent.

The average for the 15-year FRM this week is 4.97 percent, with an average 0.7 point, down from last week’s average of 5.17 percent. A year ago, the 15-year FRM averaged 5.36 percent. This is the lowest the 15-year FRM has been since the week ending July 11, 2003, when it averaged 4.85 percent.

One-year Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 3.62 percent this week, with an average 0.7 point, down from 3.76 percent last week. At this time last year, the one-year ARM averaged 4.03 percent. This is the lowest the 1-year ARM has been since the week ending July 18, 2003, when it averaged 3.58 percent.

(Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total cost of obtaining the mortgage.)
“Expecting job growth on the order of about 150,000 in December, financial markets were taken aback, to say the least, when those figures came in at only around a thousand new jobs,” said Amy Crews Cutts, Freddie Mac deputy chief economist. “The lack luster employment report had a chilling effect on the market’s recent exuberance, causing mortgage rates to slide to this week’s low levels.

“ Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Board continues to indicate it won’t make any rate changes anytime soon, and it looks like we’re moving from a job-loss recovery to an almost inflation-less recovery, thus insuring that mortgage rates will remain low and affordable.”

Everyone is looking for inflation to appear, but no one seems able to find it. Thus, with no inflationary pressure mortgage rates have continued to slip for the past few weeks, and we expect to see no big change in rates anytime in the foreseeable future," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist. "And because of these generational low rates, we are also seeing generational high single-family housing starts. I think it's fair to say the outlook for the housing industry remains exceptional for the coming new year."

The National Mortgage Rate Snapshot
This Week One Week Ago One Year Ago
30-Yr 15-Yr 1-Yr
5.66 4.97 3.62
0.6 0.7 0.7
30-Yr 15-Yr 1-Yr
5.87 5.17 3.76
0.7 0.7 0.6

Source: Freddie Mac

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30-Yr 15-Yr 1-Yr
5.97 5.36 4.03
0.6 0.6 0.7