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30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Drops for Third Consecutive Week

March 3, 2011

Long-term fixed rates decreased for the third consecutive week, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.87 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending March 3, 2011, down from last week when it averaged 4.95 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.97 percent.

The 15-year FRM averaged 4.15 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.22 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.33 percent.

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.72 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.8 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 4.11 percent.

The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 3.23 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.4 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 4.27 percent.

"Mortgage rates saw an overall improvement this week,” said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac. “Interest rates for 30-year fixed mortgages were almost 0.2 percentage points below this year's high set just three weeks ago. This means that homebuyers could now expect to pay $263 less per year on a $200,000 loan."

Despite the low rates, housing demand still remains weak, Nothaft said. New home sales in January were near record lows dating back to 1963 when the data began, according to the Census Bureau . Similarly, pending sales of existing homes fell for the second consecutive month in January, according to the National Association of Realtors.

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