NEW YORK, NY - Mortgage rates showed little change this week, with the benchmark conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate now 5.04 percent, according to Bankrate.com's weekly national survey. The average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.42 discount and origination points. The average 15-year fixed mortgage was a touch higher at 4.32 percent, while the larger jumbo 30-year fixed rate settled slightly lower at 5.58 percent. Adjustable rate mortgages were mixed, with the average 3-year ARM down slightly to 3.84 percent and the 5-year ARM ticking up to 3.88 percent.
Movement in mortgage rates was balanced out by unrest in the Middle East, spiking oil prices, and an upbeat employment report for February. While the risk to the economy from higher oil prices remains, the pickup in job growth was enough to keep a floor under mortgage rates, for this week at least. Yields on long-term government bonds, to which mortgage rates are closely related, have yo-yoed up and down in recent days. Signs of economic strengthening lead to higher bond yields and mortgage rates, while concerns about weakness lead rates lower.
The last time mortgage rates were above 6 percent was Nov. 2008. At the time, the average 30-year fixed rate was 6.33 percent, meaning a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,241.86. With the average rate now 5.04 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $1,078.54, a difference of $163 per month for anyone 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.
For a full analysis of this week's move in mortgage rates, go to: www.bankrate.com.
The survey is complemented by Bankrate's weekly Rate Trend Index, in which a panel of mortgage experts predicts which way the rates are headed over the next seven days. Mortgage rates aren't headed any lower, as none of the panelists predict a decline. But they're fairly evenly split about whether rates will rise or remain unchanged, with 53 percent forecasting an increase and 47 percent expecting mortgage rates to remain more or less unchanged over the next seven days.
For the full mortgage Rate Trend Index, go to: www.bankrate.com/RTI
The Bankrate network of companies includes Bankrate.com, Interest.com, Mortgage-calc.com, Nationwide Card Services, Fee Disclosure, InsureMe, CreditCardGuide.com, Bankaholic, CreditCards.com and NetQuote. Each of these businesses helps consumers to make informed decisions about their personal finance matters. The company's flagship brand, Bankrate.com is a destination site of personal finance channels, including banking, investing, taxes, debt management and college finance. Bankrate.com is the leading aggregator of rates and other information on more than 300 financial products, including mortgages, credit cards, new and used auto loans, money market accounts and CDs, checking and ATM fees, home equity loans and online banking fees. Bankrate.com reviews more than 4,800 financial institutions in 575 markets in 50 states. Bankrate.com provides financial applications and information to a network of more than 75 partners, including Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO), America Online (NYSE: AOL), The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times (NYSE: NYT). Bankrate.com's information is also distributed through more than 500 newspapers. Bankrate, Inc. was acquired by Apax Partners, one of the world's leading private equity investment groups, in September 2009. Apax operates across the United States, Europe and Asia and has more than 30 years of investing experience.