Mortgage rates dropped sharply this week, possibly improving the purchasing power of many home buyers. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, the most popular choice among buyers, averaged 4.39 percent this week, its lowest average for 2011, Freddie Mac reported in its weekly mortgage market survey. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage and the 5-year adjustable rate-mortgage also both reached new historical record lows.
Rates mostly dropped across the board amid signs of a weakening economy, Freddie Mac says.
"Treasury bond yields fell markedly after signs the economy was weaker than what markets had previously thought allowing fixed mortgage rates to follow this week with the 15-year fixed and 5-year ARM setting new historical lows,” says Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac.
Nothaft also noted some improvement in the housing market, however. "There were indications that the housing market is firming,” he says. Here’s a closer look at rates for the week ending Aug. 4:
30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.39 percent, downfrom last week’s 4.55 percent average. A year ago at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.49 percent.
15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.54 percent, dropping from last week’s 3.66 percent average.Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 3.95 percent.
5-year adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.18 percent this week, falling from last week’s 3.25 percent average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.63 percent.
1-year adjustable-rate mortgages: were the only ones on the rise last week, averaging 3.02 percent this week, which is up from last week’s 2.95 percent average. Last year at the time, 1-year ARMs averaged 3.55 percent.