Mortgage rates move toward record lows

By Palm Beach Staff

NORTH PALM BEACH — The Fed’s move to buy up Treasury securities and mortgage debt has pushed mortgage rates to lows almost never seen before.’s weekly look at rates found the 30-year mortgage averaging 5.19 percent, the lowest in the 24 years the company has surveyed mortgage rates. That’s down from 5.29 percent a week ago.

Bankrate, citing the National Bureau of Economic Research, said the last time mortgage rates were recorded lower than this was December 1956.

The average 15-year fixed rate mortgage retreated to 4.80 percent and the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate fell to 6.66 percent. Adjustable rate mortgages were lower also, with the average 1-year ARM pulling back to 5.30 percent and the 5/1 ARM slipping to 5.21 percent.

Bankrate’s previous low for the 30-year was 5.28 percent seen this January and in June 2003. Jumbo mortgage rates benefited as well, with rates now at the lowest level since May 2007, before the onset of the credit crunch.

Mortgage rates have dropped substantially over the past five months. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate in late October was 6.77 percent, meaning a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,299.86. With the average rate now at 5.19 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $1,096.99, a savings of more than $200 per month for a homeowner refinancing now.

Bankrate's national weekly mortgage survey is conducted each Wednesday from data provided by the top 10 banks and thrifts in the top 10 markets.

Holding out for even lower rates might not be a wise move. Bankrate's panel of mortgage experts sees rates likely to stay put or move higher over the next 30 to 45 days.

Half of the panelists forecast a rebound in rates, while and 25 percent predict rates will remain more or less unchanged. The remaining quarter sees rates falling.

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MARCH 26, 2009 click to go home
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