30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Slips to Record Low at 3.91%

The 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.91 percent for the week, a new all-time low, according to Freddie Mac’s records dating to 1970.
The long-term fixed rate dropped below last week’s 3.94 percent, the previous record low set in October. The 15-year fixed rate matched last week’s all-time record low at 3.21 percent.
Record or near-record low rates may persist well into next year, according to Freddie Mac and the Federal Reserve’s unchanged near-zero federal funds rate, which sets a benchmark for prime lending rates.
Such an enticement of record low rates is still much needed for the depressed housing market.
With a persistent foreclosure crisis, nearly half of all home purchases involve distressed properties, either foreclosed or repossessed by lenders. That large component of distressed ales has kept home prices stagnant in some communities, or even worse, still looking for a bottom in the hardest hit areas.
For homebuyers with good credit who able to take advantage of the historic rates, there is a lot of money to be saved.
“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, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac.
There have been some hopeful signs in recent housing data releases.
Home affordability has 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.
In addition, new construction of one-family homes also showed a back-to-back monthly gain in November to the largest increase since June. Also, home builder confidence in December rose to its highest reading since May 2010 according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.”

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