Fixed mortgage rates at, near all-time lows

Fixed mortgage rates at, near all-time lows

The 15-year fixed mortgage rate (FRM), a popular choice among refinance borrowers, averaged a new all-time record low of 3.13 percent, the week ending March 8, according to Freddie Mac's weekly "Primary Mortgage Market Survey."

The record-low average 3.13 percent rate on the 15-year FRM came with an average 0.8 point and was down from last week's average 3.17 percent rate and down from 4.15 percent a year ago.

Meanwhile, the average interest rate on 30-year fixed rate mortgages (FRMs) fell to 3.88 percent, with an average 0.8 point, down from 3.90 percent last week and nearing the record low 3.87 percent set back on Feb. 2 this year.

Last year at this time, the average 30-year FRM interest rate was 4.88 percent, according to Freddie Mac.

"With these historically low rates and declining house prices, the typical family had more than double the income needed to purchase a median-priced home in January, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Housing Affordability Index which registered the highest reading since records began in 1970," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac.

"In fact, the Corelogic National Home Price Index (HPI) fell for the sixth consecutive month in January to the lowest level since January 2003. This high level of affordability likely contributed to the recent two-week rise ending March 2 in mortgage applications for home purchases ," Nothaft added.

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) was 2.81 percent this week, with an average 0.7 point, down from 2.83 percent last week. The 5-year ARM averaged 3.73 percent a year ago.

Finally, for the week ending March 8, Freddie Mac reported the 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.73 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, up from last week's 2.72, and down from 3.21 percent a year ago.