NEW YORK, NY - The benchmark conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate set a new record for the fourth consecutive week, dropping to 4.32 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 retreated to 3.44 percent while the larger jumbo 30-year fixed rate fell to 4.83 percent. Adjustable rate mortgages were lower also, with the average 7-year ARM slipping to 3.2 percent while the 10-year ARM slid to 3.76 percent. All are record lows.
The U.S. economy remains weak with yet another reminder coming in the form of disappointing retail sales figures for August. But the latest drop in mortgage rates is also due to the ongoing debt issues on the other side of the Atlantic. The nervousness about whether Europe's debt problems will mushroom into a widespread financial panic has helped bring both bond yields and mortgage rates lower. Next week, the Federal Reserve meets, and expectations call for another initiative designed, among other things, to keep mortgage rates low.
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 4.32 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $992.09, a difference of $249 per month for anyone refinancing now.
30-year fixed: 4.32% -- down from 4.35% last week (avg. points: 0.42)
15-year fixed: 3.44% -- down from 3.48% last week (avg. points: 0.36)
5/1 ARM: 3.07% -- down from 3.10% last week (avg. points: 0.42)
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.
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. This week, more than half of the panelists - 55 percent - expect mortgage rates to remain more or less unchanged, while 27 percent predict a decline. Just 18 percent foresee an increase in mortgage rates in the upcoming week.
For the full mortgage Rate Trend Index, go to: www.bankrate.com
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