NEW YORK, NY - Mortgage rates fell for the seventh time in the past eight weeks and set a new record for the fourth consecutive week. The average rate on the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropped below the 4 percent mark for the first time ever, down to 3.97 percent, according to Bankrate.com's (NYSE: RATE) weekly national survey. The average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.44 discount and origination points.
The average 15-year fixed mortgage rate held at 3.2 percent while the jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage sank to another record low of 4.52 percent. Adjustable mortgage rates were mixed, with the average 1-year adjustable slipping to 3.11 percent, while the popular 5-year ARM ticked higher to 3 percent.
The ongoing European debt crisis is producing another flight to quality, where investors gravitate to safe-haven investments such as U.S. Treasuries. Mortgage rates, which are closely related to yields on U.S. Treasuries, have been direct beneficiaries, falling to new lows. As long as uncertainty prevails, mortgage rates are likely to remain at these ultra-low levels.
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 3.97 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $951.37, a difference of $290 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.
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. The majority of the panelists, 58 percent, see little change in mortgage rates over the next seven days. The remainder are evenly split, with 21 percent predicting an increase in mortgage rates and an equal 21 percent forecasting a decrease in the coming week.
For the full mortgage Rate Trend Index, go to www.bankrate.com
Bankrate is a leading publisher, aggregator, and distributor of personal finance content on the Internet. Bankrate provides consumers with proprietary, fully researched, comprehensive, independent and objective personal finance editorial content across multiple vertical categories including mortgages, deposits, insurance, credit cards, and other categories, such as retirement, automobile loans, and taxes.