Today's Mortgage Rates
Freddie Mac says that current mortgage rates edged up slightly this week. It reported that the average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) was 4.99 percent, up from last week's 4.96 percent. This time last year, the same rate was 4.85 percent.
This might be the start of a continuing trend. Today's Los Angeles Times observes: "It seemed likely that mortgage rates would creep still higher, given a jump this week in the interest rates, or yield, being paid on U.S. Treasury securities, which home-lending rates generally follow."
The Mortgage Bankers Association's figures frequently differ from Freddie Mac's for various reasons, and sure enough its latest analysis shows the average 30-year, FRM rate at 5.01 percent. The organization also revealed that the seasonally-adjusted number of mortgage applications for purchases rose 2.7% during week ending March 19, while refinancing applications declined.
Housing Market Blues
The Washington Post confirmed that the residential real estate market still has plenty of problems. It reported that sales of newly-built, single-family homes dropped in February for the fourth month in a row, and that the overall number of residential properties on the market was up. In fact, there were enough homes for sale last month to meet 9.2 months' demand, the longest period since May 2009.
The Post says: "Delinquencies on U.S. mortgages rose to nearly 14% in late 2009, led by a sharp increase in seriously overdue home loans held by the most credit-worthy borrowers..." Apparently, White House sources had given reporters the heads-up on a later announcement of new initiatives to help struggling home owners.
Not All Gloom
But amongst the grim statistics there have been glimmers of light. For example, prices of newly built homes are showing surprising strength. In February, they were up 6.1% on January, the largest monthly rise for ten months.
And Freddie Mac's chief economist, Frank Nothaft, who can always be relied upon to find something positive to say, this week found good news about homeowners' finances:
Household debt burdens on aggregate continue to improve through the end of 2009. The Federal Reserve reported that the financial obligations for homeowners declined to under 16.1 percent of their disposable income in the fourth quarter, which represents the lowest share since the third quarter of 2003.
Best Mortgage Rates Here?
If you're thinking of buying a home or refinancing, you'll probably want to take advantage of today's home loan deals, which continue to offer some of the best mortgage rates for fifty years. If so, find yourself a competitive quote here.