For the fifth straight week, mortgage rates inched down again–this time reaching the lowest level of the year as well as lowest year-to-date. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.61 percent this week, while the 15-year rate averaged 3.80 percent, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey.
The 30-year mortgage hasn’t reached 4.61 percent or below since December 2010. Last year at this time, it averaged 4.84 percent while the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.24 percent.
The falling rates may be yet another lure to buyers during real estate’s traditionally prime home buying season. Owning a home has also recently been found to be more affordable than renting in 78 percent of the major U.S. cities, according to the latest data from Trulia.
Mortgage applications, meanwhile, are increasing as interest rates continue to fall. Mortgage loan application volume increased 7.8 percent this week when compared to the week prior, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Refinancings, hit the highest level since mid-December, increasing 13.2 percent over the prior week, while the purchase index for mortgage applications dropped 3.2 percent.
Source: “Fixed-Rate Mortgages Hit a New Year-to-Date Low,” Freddie Mac (May 19, 2011) and “Mortgage Applications Grow Again on Home Refinancings,” HousingWire (May 18, 2011)
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