Posted by: Luciane | February 12, 2010

Mortgage rates dip below 5 percent

updated 12:27 p.m. ET, Thurs., Feb. 11, 2010 //

Rates on 30-year fixed mortgages fell slightly this week, dipping below 5 percent, the mortgage financier Freddie Mac said Thursday.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.97 percent this week, down from an average of 5.01 percent last week. Last year at this time, the rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage averaged 5.16 percent, Freddie Mac said.

Rates fell to a record low of 4.71 percent in early December. They have held around 5 percent thanks to a Federal Reserve program to pump $1.25 trillion into mortgage-backed securities to try to keep rates low and make home buying more affordable. That program is set to end March 31.

Low rates also can spur refinancing activity. More than two out of three mortgage applications were for refinance transactions over the first six weeks of this year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

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, often in line with long-term Treasury bonds.

The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 4.34 percent from 4.40 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac.

Rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.19 percent, down from 4.27 percent a week earlier. Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages rose to 4.33 percent from 4.22 percent.

The rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The nationwide fee for loans in Freddie Mac’s survey averaged 0.7 point for 30-year mortgages. It averaged 0.6 point for 15-year, five-year and one-year loans.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7148582/ns/business-personal_finance/

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