Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rates on 30-Year Mortgages Edged Down This Week, but Remain Above 5%

McLEAN, Va. (AP) -- Rates on 30-year mortgages edged down this week, but remained above 5 percent, Freddie Mac reported Thursday.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage dipped to 5.10 percent this week from 5.12 percent last week. At this time last year, the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.68 percent.

Mortgage rates have been declining since the Federal Reserve said in late November it would buy up to $500 billion in mortgage-backed securities to get banks to lend more money in hopes of bolstering the troubled housing market.

Rates hit 4.96 percent two weeks ago, the lowest level since Freddie Mac started its survey in April 1971.

This week, the average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was unchanged at 4.8 percent. The comparable rate a year ago was 5.17 percent.

Average rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages rose to 5.27 percent from 5.24 percent. Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 4.9 percent from 4.92 percent last week.

The rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The nationwide fee for 30-year and 15-year mortgages averaged 0.7 point for this week. Fees for one-year and five-year adjustable rate mortgages averaged sixth-tenths of a point.

Freddie Mac and sibling company Fannie Mae own or guarantee about half of the $11.5 trillion in U.S. outstanding home loan debt. The government seized control of the companies in September.

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