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Mortgage Rates Drop to Lowest Point of 2011
May 13, 2011

Freddie Mac has released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), which shows mortgage rates are at their lowest level for 2011 after declining for the fourth consecutive week. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.63 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending May 12, 2011, down from last week when it averaged 4.71 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.93 percent. The 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.82 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.89 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.30 percent. "Mortgage rates continued to decline this week following a mixed employment report," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac. "The economy added a healthy number of 244,000 workers in April, the most in 11 months, and the figures for March and February were revised up by 56,000 more jobs. However, the unemployment rate rose to 9.0 percent from 8.8 percent in March and was the highest reading since January. In addition, wages grew by only 0.1 percent, which was below the market consensus forecast." The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.41 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.47 percent. "Distressed homes are suppressing house prices in many local areas," said Nothaft. "The National Association of Realtors reported these homes sold at a 20 percent discount in the first quarter of this year and accounted for 39 percent of all existing home sales, up from 36 percent in the first quarter of 2010. As a result, only 22 percent of metropolitan areas exhibited higher median sales prices from a year ago, compared to 51 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010." A year ago, the five-year ARM averaged 3.95 percent. The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 3.11 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.14 percent. At this time last year, the one-year ARM averaged 4.02 percent. "However, households have been strengthening their balance sheets over the past year," said Nothaft. "The New York Federal Reserve Bank reported that the serious delinquency rate (90 or more days delinquent plus foreclosures) on first mortgages and closed-end home equity loans balances fell to 7.46 percent in the first quarter from a peak of 8.89 percent the same period last year. This suggests there may be fewer distressed sales later this year."
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