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Mortgage Rates Rise This Week

Posted Thursday, January 22, 2009

Today Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.12 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending January 22, 2009, up from last week when it averaged 4.96 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 5.48 percent.

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 4.80 percent with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 4.65 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.95 percent.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 5.24 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 5.25 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 5.13 percent. The 5-year ARM has not been this low since the week ending September 8, 2005, when it also averaged 5.24 percent.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 4.92 percent this week with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 4.89 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 4.99 percent.

(Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total cost of obtaining the mortgage.)

"Fixed-rate mortgages followed bond yields and edged up this holiday week," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. "However, over the first three weeks of 2009, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 0.25 percentage points below its monthly average for December 2008. As a result, the number of mortgage applications for refinancing was roughly about 86 percent of all conventional loans over the same time period.

"New housing construction continues to thin due to foreclosures and an abundance of unsold homes. Housing starts for 1-family homes fell 13.5 percent in December 2008 to an annualized pace just under 400,000 houses, the slowest pace since the data were collected in January 1959. In addition, homebuilder confidence fell to a record low in January since history began in January 1985."