By Mike Colpitts
Demonstrating that banks are attempting to keep in step with each other, mortgage rates dropped marginally lower on the 30-year fixed rate loan and hit a new all-time record low on the 15-year fixed rate mortgage this week, according to Freddie Mac.
The rate on the 30-year averaged 3.88%, a drop from 3.90% last week. The popular 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.13% in the U.S. with an average of 0.8 point, down from 3.17% a week ago. The 30-year mortgage was only a slim single basis point off its all-time low of 3.87%.
The shorter term 15-year mortgage has become especially popular with homeowners refinancing mortgages as a result of lower rates reducing the length of time it takes to pay-off a home mortgage.
The 5-year Treasury indexed hybrid adjustable rate mortgage fell to 2.81%, a drop from an average 2.83% average last week. A year ago the same mortgage was a much higher 3.73% and the 30-year fixed averaged 4.88%.
“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,” said Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft.
The National Association of Realtors housing price index fell to the lowest level since the index was started in 1970 during the month of February, demonstrating the lowest home prices in more than forty years across most of the nation.
Another heavily monitored index, the CoreLogic National Home Price Index fell for the sixth straight month in January. Still, however, home buying activity remains sluggish as consumers worry over the U.S. economy and the troubled housing market. Home sales have improved from two years ago as more workers go back to jobs following lengthy lay-offs as a result of the economy.