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15-Year Mortgage Shines

Average 30-year 3.88%

March 8, 2012

By SAM GARCIA Mortgage Daily


portrait of Sam Garcia

In addition to falling to a record-low this week, the 15-year mortgage increased its discount over the 30-year mortgage. The long-term mortgage was also lower this week, as was the hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage -- though rates could be higher in the next report. The one-year ARM, meanwhile, worsened over the past seven days.

At 3.88 percent, the average, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 2 basis points better than the previous week in Freddie's Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ended March 8. The 30 year was much higher a year ago at 4.88 percent.

Rates declined as investors, spooked by Greece's sovereign debt crisis, retreated from equity markets and poured money into Treasury bonds. The Greek outlook has since improved.

If the Treasury market is any indication this week, mortgage rates might be 5 BPS worse in next week's report. The 10-year Treasury bond averaged 1.98 percent during the period that Freddie surveyed its lenders this week, while the 10 year closed at 2.03 percent today, according to data from the Department of the Treasury.

Forty-three percent of panelists surveyed by Bankrate.com for the week March 8 to March 14 agreed, predicting that rates will rise at least 3 BPS during the next week. Another 36 percent forecasted no changes, and 21 percent projected a decline.

A jumbo mortgage cost 60 BPS more than a conforming mortgage, according to the U.S. Mortgage Market Index from Mortech Inc. and Mortgage Daily for the week ended March 2. The jumbo-conforming spread fell from 64 BPS the prior week.

The news was great for 15-year borrowers, with 15-year fixed rates falling 4 BPS from a week earlier to 3.13 percent. Freddie said that it was the lowest level on record for 15-year mortgages. The discount for a 15-year loan versus 30-year mortgages improved to 75 BPS from last week's spread of 73 BPS.

With a 2-basis-point decline over the past seven days, Freddie said the five-year, Treasury-indexed, hybrid ARM landed at 2.81 percent.

But the one-year Treasury-indexed ARM rose, climbing 1 basis point from Freddie's report last week to 2.73 percent. The one-year ARM averaged 3.21 percent during the same week in 2011.

The one year adjusts based on changes in the yield on the one-year Treasury note, which the Treasury Department said was unchanged from a week prior at 0.18 percent Thursday.

The six-month LIBOR, another index for ARMs, inched down to 0.74 percent Wednesday from 0.75 percent the prior week, Bankrate.com reported.

ARM prospects accounted for 4.68 percent of pricing inquiries in the Mortgage Market Index. ARM share was 4.71 percent in the previous report.


Sam Garcia founded Mortgage Daily in 1998 and became its full-time publisher in 2000. Before that, he worked in mortgage lending for two decades.

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