Fixed mortgage rates retreated, with the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate falling to 3.73 percent this week, according to Bankrate.com's weekly national survey. The average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.33 discount and origination points.
To see mortgage rates in your area, go to http://www.bankrate.com/funnel/mortgages/.
The average 15-year fixed mortgage rate slipped below the 3 percent mark, to 2.96 percent, while the larger jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage plunged to 4.1 percent. Adjustable rate mortgages were also lower, with the 3-year ARM inching down to 3 percent and the 5-year ARM sinking to 2.68 percent.
Mortgage rates declined following renewed concerns about the global economy and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke 's reassurances that stimulative bond-buying will continue. Mortgage rates had moved modestly higher in recent weeks on worries that the Fed would prematurely curtail their purchases of long-term bonds, but Bernanke cast those notions aside. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds.
The last time mortgage rates were above 5 percent was Apr. 2011. At the time, the average 30-year fixed rate was 5.07 percent, meaning a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,082.22. With the average rate now 3.73 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $923.96, a difference of $158 per month for anyone refinancing now.
30-year fixed: 3.73% -- down from 3.80% last week (avg. points: 0.33)
15-year fixed: 2.96% -- down from 3.02% last week (avg. points: 0.32)
5/1 ARM: 2.68% -- down from 2.76% last week (avg. points: 0.32)
Bankrate's national weekly mortgage survey is conducted each Wednesday from data provided by the top 10 banks and thrifts in the top 10 markets.
For a full analysis of this week's move in mortgage rates, go to http://www.bankrate.com.
The survey is complemented by Bankrate's weekly Rate Trend Index, in which a panel of mortgage experts predicts which way the rates are headed over the next seven days. Nearly half – 46 percent – of respondents predict mortgage rates will decline further. The remainder are evenly split, with 27 percent forecasting an increase and 27 percent expecting mortgage rates to remain more or less unchanged over the next seven days.
For the full mortgage Rate Trend Index, go to http://www.bankrate.com/RTI.
To download the Bankrate Mortgage Calculator & Mortgage Rates iPhone App 2.0