Mortgage rates dip back below 5%

By Dow Jones Newswires
Posted Feb. 24 at 1:50 p.m.

Mortgage rates declined in the latest week, with the average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages landing at 4.95 percent, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey.

Rates slumped through most of last year as yields on Treasurys declined amid economic uncertainty. But yields have been on the rise recently, pushing mortgage rates back up earlier this month to the highest level since last April. The rates track the yields, which move inversely to Treasury prices.

Freddie Chief Economist Frank Nothaft noted that the latest week’s easing of rates came amid mixed economic reports, with a measure of inflation for January rising slightly more than expected and house prices falling 4.1 percent in the fourth quarter.

The 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.95 percent for the week ended Thursday, down from the prior week’s 5 percent and 5.05 percent a year earlier.

Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages were 4.22 percent, below last week’s 4.27 percent and the year-earlier average of 4.4 percent.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.8 percent, down from the prior week’s 3.87 percent and the prior-year’s 4.16 percent. One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs were 3.4 percent, compared with 3.39 percent and 4.15 percent, respectively.

To obtain the rates, all the mortgages required payment of an average 0.6 point, except the 15-year fixed, which required 0.7 point. A point is 1 percent of the mortgage amount, charged as prepaid interest.

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