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Fixed Rates Fall to Lowest Level in 2011

Average 30-year fixed-rate 4.61%

May 20, 2011

By SAM GARCIA Mortgage Daily

Fixed rates fell to their lowest levels so far in 2011 and don't appear headed higher over the next week, though adjustable-rate products climbed. The longer-term outlook is for rates to rise another half percent by the end of the year.

At 4.61 percent, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was down for the fifth straight week to the lowest level all year, according to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ended Thursday.

portrait of Sam Garcia

The 30-year was 4.63 percent a week earlier and 4.84 percent a year earlier.

At this point it looks like the 30-year won't be much different in next week's report, based on an analysis of data delivered by the Department of the Treasury.

No change in mortgage rates was predicted by 44 percent of the panelists surveyed by for the week May 19 to May 25. But 39 percent projected an increase and 17 percent saw rates heading lower during the next week.

Freddie predicted in its latest housing forecast that the 30-year will average 4.8 percent this quarter then rise in the third and fourth quarters.

The cost of a jumbo mortgage relative to rates on loans that don't exceed $417,000 was slightly better in the U.S. Mortgage Market Index report from Mortech Inc. and for the week ended May 13.

Freddie said that the average 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.89 percent from 3.97 percent a week earlier. The difference between the 15-year and the 30-year mortgage increased -- making the 15-year the more attractive option.

The average 15-year fixed-rate mortgage also fell from last week to 3.82 percent, Freddie reported.

But adjustable-rate mortgages were higher this week in Freddie's survey. The five-year, Treasury-index, hybrid ARM rose to 3.48 percent, and the one-year Treasury-indexed ARM climbed to 3.15.

The ratio of new inquiries in the Mortgage Market Index report that were ARMs fell to 9.73 percent from last week's 10.45 percent.

The Mortgage Market Index report indicated that refinance share climbed to half from last week's 47 percent.

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