NEW YORK, NY - Mortgage rates posted a sharp decline, with the benchmark conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate falling to 4.91 percent, according to Bankrate.com's weekly national survey. The average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.38 discount and origination points. The average 15-year fixed mortgage dropped to 4.12 percent, and the larger jumbo 30-year fixed rate retreated to 5.46 percent. Adjustable rate mortgages were mostly lower also, with the average 5-year ARM sinking to 3.74 percent and the 7-year ARM pulling back to 4.10 percent.
Mortgage rates fell sharply, pulling back below the 5 percent mark for the first time in nearly two months. While mortgage rates had been lower in three of the past four weeks owing to concerns about Middle East tensions and the potentially negative economic consequences of higher oil prices, it was the unfolding tragedy in Japan that produced this week's movement. Concerns among investors about a potential nuclear meltdown and worries about slower global growth stemming from the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, had investors piling into safe haven U.S. Treasuries, helping to drive mortgage rates lower. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds.
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 4.91 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $1,062.67, a difference of $179 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. Slightly more than half of the panelists, 53 percent, predict further declines. Just 13 percent forecast a rebound, and one-third – 33 percent – expect 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.