NEW YORK, NY - Mortgage rates were pretty tame during the holiday season, with the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate inching lower to 3.58 percent this week, according to Bankrate.com's weekly national survey. The average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.35 discount and origination points.
The average 15-year fixed mortgage rate nosed higher to 2.88 percent and the larger jumbo 30-year mortgage was also a touch higher to 4.08 percent. Adjustable rate mortgages were lower, with the popular 3-year ARM declining to 2.93 percent and the 7-year ARM pulling back to 2.92 percent.
Relief that the fiscal cliff has been averted will likely send mortgage rates higher in the next week or so, but don't take this as the beginning of a long-standing trend. We still have a slow growth economy with high unemployment, and the debt ceiling negotiations will get started soon and are sure to be contentious. This will only serve to fuel uncertainty and volatility, both of which may end up bringing mortgage rates back down.
The last time mortgage rates were above 5 percent was Apr. 2011. At the time, the average 30-year fixed rate was 5.07 percent, meaning a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,082.22. With the average rate now 3.58 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $907.04, a difference of $175 per month for anyone refinancing now.
30-year fixed: 3.58% -- down from 3.59% last week (avg. points: 0.35)
15-year fixed: 2.88% -- up from 2.87% last week (avg. points: 0.27)
5/1 ARM: 2.76% -- down from 2.77% last week (avg. points: 0.29)
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. More than half of the respondents, 55 percent, forecast an increase in mortgage rates over the coming week. A bit more than one-quarter – 27 percent – expect mortgage rates to fall and just 18 percent see mortgage rates remaining more or less unchanged over the next seven days.