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Rates Drift Lower On Reports Of Economic Weakness

August 29, 2008

Rates eased lower according to Freddie Ma's Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®). The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 6.40 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending August 21, 2008, down from last week when it averaged 6.47 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.67 percent.

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 5.93 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 6.00 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 6.12 percent.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 6.03 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 5.99 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 6.35 percent.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 5.33 percent this week with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 5.29 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 5.84 percent.

"Interest rates for fixed-rate mortgages continue to drift down as reports of economic weakness persist. July's leading economic indicators fell by more than the market consensus and manufacturing slowed in both the Philadelphia and Richmond regions. ARM rates, on the other hand, rose slightly after the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee hinted it might increase the overnight bank lending rate in its August 5th minutes," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.

However, the housing front is providing some encouraging signs. The pace of home price declines slowed down for the fourth straight month in June and the number of metro areas exhibiting monthly gains rose from seven to nine, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller® 20-city composite index. There are also signs more buyers may be getting ready to return to the market. The Conference Board says the share of households planning to buy a home within six months is now at its highest level since March. At the same time, the supply for unsold new homes is down to 10.1 months, the lowest since February, as single-family existing homes (excluding condos and co-ops) start to sell more quickly. Although, when condos and co-ops are included, the resale inventory did edge up."

The National Mortgage Rate Snapshop
This Week One Week Ago One Year Ago
30-Yr 15-Yr 5-Yr
1-Yr ARM
6.40 5.93 6.03 5.33
0.6 0.6 0.6 0.7
30-Yr 15-Yr 5-Yr
1-Yr ARM
6.47 6.00 5.99 5.29
0.7 0.7 0.6 0.5
30-Yr 15-Yr 5-Yr
1-Yr ARM
6.45 6.12 6.35 5.84
0.5 0.5 0.6 0.8

Source: Freddie Mac

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