Mortgage rates match or set record lows

Dec. 22, 2011 at 12:18 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- The average fixed mortgage rates hit or matched all-time U.S. lows, Freddie Mac said Thursday.

The 30-year fixed rate of 3.91 percent set a record low, while the 15-year fixed rate of 3.21 percent matched last week's record low, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.'s Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending Thursday indicated.

A 5-year adjustable rate mortgage had 2.77 percent rate for the week, setting a record for the second consecutive week, Freddie Mac said.

"Rates on 30-year fixed mortgages have been at or below 4 percent for the last eight weeks and now are almost 0.9 percentage points below where they were at the beginning of the year, which means that today's homebuyers are paying over $1,200 less per year on a $200,000 loan," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.

"This greater affordability helped push existing home sales higher for the second consecutive month in November to an annualized pace of 4.42 million, the most since January," he said. "In addition, new construction of one-family homes also showed a back-to-back monthly gain in November to the largest increase since June."

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