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Mortgage Rates Lower on Hopes of Market Recovery

Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008

Today Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 6.01 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending May 15, 2008, down from last week when it averaged 6.05 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.15 percent.

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 5.60 percent with an average 0.5 point, unchanged from last week when it averaged 5.60 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 5.87 percent.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 5.57 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 5.67 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 5.89 percent.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 5.18 percent this week with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it was 5.29 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 5.48 percent.

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

"Recent remarks by Federal Reserve (Fed) officials, which partly bolstered optimism that financial markets will recover later this year, helped mortgage rates ease up a little this week," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. "Fed Chairman Bernanke indicated in a speech on May 13th that the Fed stands ready to continue to add liquidity to the markets. On the same day, San Francisco Fed bank president Janet Yellen added that she anticipates inflation will slow as commodity prices level off in the second half of the year.

"Despite the bleak housing market, there was positive news on the overall state of the economy. Retail sales (excluding automobiles) rose 0.5 percent in April, over twice that of market forecasts, and there was a significant upward revision in March's figures as well. Also, the consumer price index for April rose less than expected, allaying some market concerns of inflation taking hold."