Mortgage Rates Fall to 5.16%

After rising last week, rates pulled lower again.

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Thirty-year fixed mortgage rates fell modestly this week to 5.16 percent, from 5.25 percent a week ago, Freddie Mac said Thursday:

Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.16 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending February 12, 2009, down from last week when it averaged 5.25 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 5.72 percent.

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 4.81 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.92 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 5.25 percent.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 5.23 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 5.26 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 5.19 percent….

"Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages are almost 1.5 percentage points below 2008's peak set on July 24, 2008, offering many homeowners an incentive to refinance," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. "This would translate into a monthly payment savings of around $188 on a $200,000 mortgage.

"The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated that the weighted average mortgage rate of loans outstanding was about 6.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008. As a result, the share of refinancing among the total number of conventional mortgage applications has exceeded 50 percent for the past 11 weeks and averaged 80 percent over this period, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association."