Mortgage rates near historic lows — and likely to stay there

By Palm Beach

DELRAY BEACH – Just when you think mortgage rates have hit bottom, they manage to sink a little more.

Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey spotted the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 5.04 percent, with an average 0.7 point, down from 5.07 percent a week earlier.

Bankrate’s national mortgage survey has the 30-year at 5.38 percent, down from 5.40 percent a week ago.

Freddie Mac’s survey also put the15-year mortgage at 4.47 percent — the lowest ever recorded since Freddie began tracking the mortgage in 1991.

“Interest rates for fixed-rate mortgages eased for the third consecutive week and remained at 3-month lows,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages have averaged just above 5 percent through mid-September, which is roughly a percentage point below last year’s average and suggests that 2009 may reach a record annual low since the survey began in 1971.”

Rates are so low compared to a year ago that they’d shave $100 on the monthly payment for a $200,000 loan, according to Bankrate.

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.

Bankrate’s panel of mortgage experts expects rates to remain low in the near term.

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