Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mortgage interest rates flat, equity gains returning

Mortgage interest rates have remained steady at the 5 percent mark for several weeks. The Federal Reserve Board reports homeowners on aggregate are slowly building back equity in their homes.

by Broderick Perkins
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Deadline Newsroom - Mortgage interest rates remained virtually unchanged the week ending March 18, at 4.96 percent for the average interest rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage (FRM). Last week the average was 4.95 percent, according to Freddie Mac's weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS).

For the week ending March 18, the rate included an average 0.7 point. Last year, at this time, the 30-year FRMaverage was also about the same at 4.98 percent.

The 15-year FRM this week, average 4.33 percent, also virtually unchanged from last week's 4.32 percent average. The rate carried an average 0.6 point. A year ago the 15-year FRM averaged 4.61 percent.

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 4.09 percent the week ending March 18, with an average 0.6 point, up from 4.05 percent from last week. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 4.98 percent.

The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 4.12 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, down from last week's 4.22 percent average, according to Freddie Mac. Last year, at this time, the 1-year ARM averaged 4.91 percent.

"With house prices starting to stabilize and even rise, homeowners on aggregate are slowly building back equity in their homes based on figures from the Federal Reserve Board," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.

"After losing almost $7.9 trillion in home equity since the end of 2006, homeowners regained almost $1.1 trillion in home equity over the past three quarters ending in 2009," he added.

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Broderick Perkins, an award-winning consumer journalist, parlayed 30 years of old-school journalism into a digital real estate news service, the San Jose, CA-based DeadlineNews Group, including DeadlineNews.Com, a real estate news and consulting service and Web site, and the Deadline Newsroom, DeadlineNews.Com's news back shop.

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