Economic News

2013 starts off with fixed mortgage rates at historic lows


According to Freddie Mac, 2013 is kicking off the year with some of the lowest mortgage rates the American economy has ever seen, which could be a catalyst for continued improvement in the housing sector.


Mortgage rates hit historic lows

Freddie Mac’s first Primary Mortgage Market Survey(R) (PMMS®) of the year shows that fixed mortgage rates continue to hover near their all-time record low, which the mortgage giant says is “helping to keep homebuyer affordability high and aiding the ongoing housing recovery.”

According to Freddie Mac, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.34 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending January 3, 2013, down from last week when it averaged 3.35 percent, and down from 3.91 percent last year at this time. A 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.64 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from 2.65 percent last week, and 3.23 percent last year.

Additionally, the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.71 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.70 percent and 2.86 percent a year ago. The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.57 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.56. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.80 percent.

Dr. Frank Nothaft, Vice President and Chief Economist at Freddie Mac said, “Mortgage rates started the year near record lows which should continue to aid the ongoing housing recovery. New home sales rose in November to a two-year high and were up 15.3 percent from the previous November. Similarly, pending sales on existing homes increased for the third month in November to the strongest pace since April 2010.”

Housing making a comeback?

Although data has been positive for the sector with low mortgage rates, improved home values, and shrinking shadow inventory levels, lending conditions remain tight, and the fiscal cliff debacle extended its tentacles into 2013, both of which the National Association of Realtors warned in late 2012 could hinder a housing recovery.

The good news is that universally, most economic indicators for housing reveal improvement in 2012, making the sector poised for a recovery as it finally found its bottom.

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