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Mortgage rates lowest in a year

Fri., July 1, 2005

WASHINGTON – Rates on 30-year mortgages sank this week to their lowest level in more than a year, offering a dose of welcome news to prospective home buyers who still face soaring home prices in many markets.

Freddie Mac, in its weekly survey, reported that for the week ending June 30, rates on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages dropped to 5.53 percent, down from 5.57 percent last week. This week’s rate was the lowest since early April 2004, when rates on 30-year mortgages averaged 5.52 percent, a spokeswoman for the mortgage giant said.

Rates on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, a popular choice for refinancing a home mortgage, also declined this week to 5.12 percent, compared with 5.16 percent last week.

“With still little or no threat of inflation to be found, long-term mortgage rates this week had some breathing room, and that allowed rates to drift a little lower,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

While long-term mortgage rates fell this week, short term rates edged up.

Rates on one-year adjustable rate mortgages rose to 4.24 percent this week, up slightly from 4.23 percent last week. For five-year hybrid adjustable rate mortgages, rates increased to 5.06 percent, up from 5.05 percent.

Low mortgage rates, which powered home sales to record highs four years in a row, are keeping the housing market buoyant. House prices nationwide rose 12.5 percent over the 12 months ending March 31, according to figures compiled by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight.

The nationwide averages for mortgage rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The one-year ARM had an average fee of 0.7 point; the other three mortgage categories each carried a fee of 0.6 point.

A year ago, 30-year mortgages averaged 6.21 percent, 15-year mortgages were at 5.62 percent and one-year ARMs averaged 4.19 percent. Freddie Mac does not have historical data on the five-year ARM, which it began tracking this year.


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