Mortgage Rates Rise, Shy of Record Low

May 7, 2009 - 3:11 PM
Rates on 30-year mortgages inched up this week after matching an all-time record low a week earlier.
Washington (AP) - Rates on 30-year mortgages inched up this week after matching an all-time record low a week earlier.
 
Mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac said Thursday that average rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 4.84 percent this week, down from an average of 4.78 percent last week. Rates, have been below 5 percent for eight consecutive weeks.
 
The all-time low of 4.78 percent was first recorded on the week of April 2 and again last week. Freddie Mac's survey dates back to 1971.
 
Low rates have sparked a surge in refinancing activity, with about 75 percent of new home loan applications coming from borrowers seeking to refinance.
 
Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist, said in a statement that the slight rise came amid news that "the economy may be approaching the bottom of the recession."
 
Mortgage rates fell dramatically over the winter. They fell further after the Federal Reserve said earlier in March that it would buy $1.2 trillion in mortgage-backed securities and $300 billion in long-term government debt, which traditionally influences rates on 30-year home loans.
 
Qualifying for a loan, however, is still tough. Lenders have tightened their standards dramatically over the past year, so the best rates are available to those with solid credit.
 
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.
 
The average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.51 percent this week from 4.48 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac.
 
Rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages rose to 4.9 percent from 4.8 percent last week. Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages rose to 4.78 percent from 4.77 percent.
 
The rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The nationwide fee averaged 0.7 point last week for 30-year and 15-year mortgages and averaged 0.6 point for five year and one-year adjustable rate loans.