The 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose slightly this week and the 15-year rate edged down, but both hovered near their record lows, according to Freddie Mac.
New U.S. data this week showing stable inflation and a still strong overall housing market recovery had little affect on mortgage rates.
However, many potential first-time homebuyers and others are finding obstacles to obtaining credit, keeping some from today’s historic affordability.
“One thing that is still holding back potential home sales is the difficulty that many families are encountering in getting qualified for a mortgage due to today’s overly stringent lending standards,” said Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. and chairman of the National Association of Home Builders.
The 30-year rate moved up from 3.32 percent last week to an average of 3.37 percent, while the 15-year fixed eased to 2.65 percent, according to Freddie Mac.
The 30-year fixed rate set its record low of 3.31 percent last month.
The 12-month growth in the core consumer price index has remained between 1.9 and 2.1 percent for the past five consecutive months ending in November, a strong sign that inflation is in check.
Meanwhile, housing starts averaged the strongest three months in November since September 2008, and homebuilder confidence jumped in December to its highest reading since April 2008.
Here is Freddie Mac’s overview of mortgage rates:
- 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.37 percent, with an average 0.7 point for the week ending December 20, 2012, up from last week when it averaged 3.32 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.91 percent.
- 15-year fixed this week averaged 2.65 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.66 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.21 percent.
- 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.71 percent this week with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.70 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.85 percent.
- 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.52 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.53. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.77 percent.