Freddie Mac : Mortgage Rates Sub-4 Percent

Freddie Mac PMMS average rates

Mortgage rates have dropped past 4 percent.

For the first time in more than 40 years, data from Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage falling below 4 percent, dropping to 3.94 percent nationwide. It’s the lowest average 30-year fixed reading in the survey’s history.

In addition, Freddie Mac shows the 15-year fixed and 5-year ARM making new all-time lows, too, falling to 3.26% and 2.96%, respectively.

It’s a great time to be shopping for a mortgage or buying a home. Because mortgage rates are dropping, housing payments are dropping, too. As compared to 8 months ago, for every $100,000 borrowed, homeowners now pay $66 less principal + interest each month.

On a $300,000 mortgage, that’s $71,280 saved in 30 years.

Mortgage rates have been lower for several reasons, some of which include :

  • U.S. economic growth has been slower-than-expected
  • Uncertainty surrounds Greece and the Eurozone
  • The Federal Reserve’s “Operation Twist

In general, demand for mortgage bonds has been high and that’s caused mortgage rates to fall. It should be noted, however, that although the 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell below 4 percent this week, the amount of discount points required to lock that rate rose by 10 basis points, or $100 per $100,000 borrowed.

Homeowners in Florida are paying bigger fees for these lower rates. If you plan to move within a few years, these fees may wipe out your low-rate savings.

As you shop for a mortgage, pay attention to more than just rates. Low rates are great, but not when they come with high costs. Talk to your loan officer for help with making a plan than works for you.

Conforming Loan Limits Drop In High-Cost Areas

Conforming Loan Limits lowered in 2011

For homeowners in high-cost areas nationwide, conforming and FHA loan limits have dropped by as much as 14 percent.

Effective October 1, 2011, the temporary mortgage loan limits that allowed for non-jumbo loan sizes of up to $729,750 are no longer.

$729,750 is above the “normal” loan limit of $417,000.

The elevated limits were put in place in 2008 as the economy and financial sector entered its crisis. At the time, there was little private money to serve buyers and would-be refinancers whose loan sizes exceeded Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s maximum $417,000 loan limits.

For most people whose loan sizes exceeded that threshold, mortgage financing was unavailable. There were no lenders to back the loan size.

This was of particular importance in places such as New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. where home prices routinely top $1 million. For people in these areas, unless they had a downpayment that could lower their respective loan sizes to $417,000 or lower, mortgages were mostly unavailable.

Congress recognized this and, as a result, gave Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac temportary authorization to purchase and securitize home loans of up to $729,750 in value, depending on where the subject property was located.

The program helped housing, leading Congress to pass more permanent, location-specific loan limits. Later that same year, Congress passed the Housing and Recovery Act of 2009 which, in part, made high-cost loan limit pricing permanent, albeit at $625,500.

The $729,750 temporary limits expired Friday, September 30, 2011. Today, the maximum allowable conforming loan size is $625,500.

If you live in a high-cost area, therefore, take note. Mortgage rates may be low, but the amount of loan for which you qualify may be less than you expect, and you may find yourself ineligible.

The complete list of high-cost areas is available online.

Mortgage Rates Bounce Off All-Time Lows; The Start Of A Trend?

Freddie Mac Weekly Rates

Low mortgage rates are terrific — if you can get them.

One week after posting its lowest mortgage rate in 50 years, Freddie Mac reports that the 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose by an average of 7 basis points nationwide this week to 4.22%. To get the rate, you’ll pay an average of 0.7 “points”.

This week’s rise in the 30-year fixed rate mortgage pulled rates off their all-time lows so either you locked last week’s rock-bottom rates, or you missed it.

Mortgage rates are rising.

As a refinancing homeowner or home buyer , rising mortgage rates are something to watch. This is because, as mortgage rates rise, so do the long-term interest costs of giving a mortgage, increasing your homeownership costs.

For example, if you failed to lock a rate last week when rates were bottomed, and then decided to lock-in only after rates had climbed 0.25 percent, at the new, higher rate, over the life of your loan, you would have responsibility for an extra $5,300 in interest costs for every $100,000 you borrowed.

Rising mortgage rates can be expensive.

For home buyers, rising mortgage rates pose a second problem — they erode your purchasing power. A home that fits your budget at today’s rates may not fit your budget at next week’s rates. And because mortgage rates change quickly, you can sometimes feel ilke you’re racing the clock.

The hard part about mortgage rates, though, is that we can never know what they’ll do next. On some days they rise, on some days they fall, and on some days they stay the same. Instead of trying to “time the bottom”, therefore, a good strategy can be to lock the first, low rate that fits your budget. Then, if rates are lower in the future, you can look to refinance at that time.

Mortgage rates remain at historical lows. It’s a good time to lock a rate.

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : August 22, 2011

Eurozone concerns aid mortgage ratesMortgage markets improved again last week, pushing mortgage rates in Ohio to an all-time low; lower than the lows set last November, even.

Last week’s low mortgage rate drivers are primarily European. Joining the debt concerns that have dogged Europe since March, a fresh wave of doubt has surfaced about the health of some Eurozone banks. The fears sparked a new wave of safe haven buying.

Global equities were socked last week and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell for the 4th straight week. For home buyers , though, the timing may be perfect. As stock markets lose, bond markets gain and when bond markets gain, mortgage rates drop.

According to government-group Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 4.17% last week with 0.7 points. This is the lowest rate-and-points combination in history.

The 5-year ARM fell to 3.08 with 0.5 points.

As mortgage rates fall, though, be wary of trying to “time the market”. It’s impossible to know when rates have bottomed and mortgage rates tend to spike without notice. That’s what happened in May 2010. And then again in November 2010. And then a third time in April 2011.

When rates rise, they could tack on 0.500% or more overnight.

This week, there is a lot that can move mortgage rates. With housing data set for Tuesday release, the Eurozone stories still unfolding, and three Treasury auctions planned, it’s best to be ready for locking.

If you’re floating a mortgage rate or still shopping, consider locking your rate as soon as possible. Rates trended higher to close out last week and will be riding that momentum forward. Rates are lower than they’ve been in history.

Take advantage of it.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : August 22, 2011

Eurozone concerns aid mortgage ratesMortgage markets improved again last week, pushing mortgage rates in Ohio to an all-time low; lower than the lows set last November, even.

Last week’s low mortgage rate drivers are primarily European. Joining the debt concerns that have dogged Europe since March, a fresh wave of doubt has surfaced about the health of some Eurozone banks. The fears sparked a new wave of safe haven buying.

Global equities were socked last week and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell for the 4th straight week. For home buyers , though, the timing may be perfect. As stock markets lose, bond markets gain and when bond markets gain, mortgage rates drop.

According to government-group Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 4.17% last week with 0.7 points. This is the lowest rate-and-points combination in history.

The 5-year ARM fell to 3.08 with 0.5 points.

As mortgage rates fall, though, be wary of trying to “time the market”. It’s impossible to know when rates have bottomed and mortgage rates tend to spike without notice. That’s what happened in May 2010. And then again in November 2010. And then a third time in April 2011.

When rates rise, they could tack on 0.500% or more overnight.

This week, there is a lot that can move mortgage rates. With housing data set for Tuesday release, the Eurozone stories still unfolding, and three Treasury auctions planned, it’s best to be ready for locking.

If you’re floating a mortgage rate or still shopping, consider locking your rate as soon as possible. Rates trended higher to close out last week and will be riding that momentum forward. Rates are lower than they’ve been in history.

Take advantage of it.