Mortgage Rates Fall To Near Record Lows

Average fixed mortgage rates moved lower this week amid data showing weaker consumer spending. This marks the third consecutive week fixed-rate mortgages have moved lower as the housing market continues to recover.

Consumer spending showed continued signs of weakness as retail sales contracted for the second time in three months. The Consumer Sentiment Index dropped 6.3 points as well to settle at 72.3, its lowest level since July.

  • 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage - The 30-year FRM averaged 3.41% with an average 0.7 in points & fees for week ending 04/18/2013, down from 3.43% last week. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.90%.
  • 15-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage - The 15-year FRM averaged 2.64% with an average 0.7 in points & fees for week ending 04/18/2013, down from 2.65% last week. Last year at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.13%.
  • 5-Year Adjustable Rate Mortgage - The 5-year ARM averaged 2.60% with an average 0.5 in points & fees for week ending 04/18/2013, down from 2.62% last week. Last year at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.78%.
  • 1-Year Adjustable Rate Mortgage - The 1-year ARM averaged 2.63% with an average 0.4 in points & fees for week ending 04/18/2013, up from 2.62% last week. Last year at this time, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.81%.

The benchmark 30-year fixed has fallen for three weeks in a row and has dropped almost a quarter of a percentage point since mid-March. Though rates have experienced some normal volatility, the net effect has been that rates today are at the same level as they were in January.

Some optimism was feeding the stock market earlier in the quarter and that was driving interest rates higher. Now the air is starting to come out of the stock market, and rates are starting to improve, predominantly because the fundamentals of what was driving the stock market really didn't support that level.

Mortgage Rates For The Week Of 03/28/2013

30-Year FRM
15-Year FRM
5-Year ARM
1-Year ARM

A number of economic indicators have come in much lower than anticipated, so while the economy has not been in a recession for a while, there is no growth being ignited either. The Federal Reserve's mortgage-backed securities purchasing program, known as quantitative easing, has also kept rates low and continues to be a stabilizing factor. Speculation about the duration of the Fed's program has been pushing and pulling interest rates for some time, with analysts and pundits parsing every sentence to try to figure out when the program might end.