Thursday, August 4, 2011

U.S. mortgage rates dropped to new lows after the latest round of gloomy economic data hurt Treasury yields, according to Freddie Mac's weekly survey of mortgage rates.
Mortgage rates tend to follow Treasury yields, which have fallen after data showed the U.S. economy grew a much weaker-than-expected 1.3% in the second quarter while first-quarter growth was cut to less than a quarter of what was originally reported.
"In fact, the first half of this year was the worst six-month period since the economic recovery began in June 2009," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie's chief economist.
The news sent 15-year fixed and five-year adjustable-rate loans to historic lows, the mortgage-finance agency said.
On the other hand, Mr. Nothaft said "there were indications that the housing market is firming."
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.39%, for the week ended Thursday, down from 4.55% the previous week and last year's rate of 4.49%, setting a new low for the year. Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.54%, down from 3.66% last week and 3.95% a year earlier.
Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.18%, a drop from 3.25% last week and 3.63% a year ago. One-year Treasury-indexed ARM rates averaged 3.02%, falling from 3.25% in the prior week and 3.55% in the prior year.
To obtain the rates, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages required an average payment of 0.8 point, while 15-year fixed rates required an average 0.7 point payment. Five-year adjustable rate mortgages required an average 0.6-point payment, while one-year adjustable rates required an average 0.5 point payment. A point is 1% of the mortgage amount, charged as prepaid interest.
Write to Drew FitzGerald at


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