By Kevin Chiu
Mortgage rates dropped a single basis point to remain near their all-time record lows, with mixed consumer confidence and housing data, according to Freddie Mac. The average rate on the fixed 30-year loan was 4.10%, which is close to their 60-year low. The rate on the shorter fixed 15-year mortgage stayed the same as a week ago.
Shorter 15-year mortgages are gaining in popularity with homeowners refinancing their homes as they seek better ways to pay down and sometimes pay-off their home mortgages in light of the foreclosure crisis, and the loss of millions of homes to foreclosure. The fixed 15-year loan averages 3.38% in the giant lenders survey.
The 5-year Treasury indexed hybrid adjustable rate mortgage averaged 3.08% this week, up from 3.01% last week. The single year ARM averaged 2.90% this week down from 2.94% last week. The small dip in some rates got many consumers to get off the fence and seek new refinancing and more home buyers to make purchases.
A new Obama administration program announced earlier this week should usher in a wave of refinancing after the program expands lending criteria for mortgage holders with underwater loans or owe more on their homes than current market value. The details on the porgram are scheduled to be released by Nov. 15th.
“Fixed mortgage rates followed other long term interest rates and showed little change on average from the prior week,” said Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft.
Consumer confidence remains weak, despite the lowest mortgage rates in years and is at the lowest level since March 2009, according to the Conference Board. But new home sales, driven by multi-family sales increased 5.7% in September to the strongest pace since last April.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency purchase index declined 0.1% in August on a seasonally adjusted basis. The FHFA index was developed by the Obama administration as a gauge on the housing market in response to the crash in the market and has little history as a track record to gauge.