Mortgage rates extended their decline to a third consecutive week as nervous investors move money into government bonds. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term Treasury securities. The combination of ongoing unrest in the Middle East, oil prices flirting with $100 per barrel, and an unexpected downward revision to fourth quarter economic growth pose risk to the economic recovery - both individually and collectively. Any risk to the economic recovery is synonymous with lower bond yields and mortgage rates. The next move rests largely with the results of Friday's employment report.
The last time mortgage rates were above 6 percent was Nov. 2008. At the time, the average 30-year fixed rate was 6.33 percent, meaning a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,241.86. With the average rate now 5.03 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $1,077.31, a difference of $165 per month for anyone refinancing now.
30-year fixed: 5.03% - down from 5.09% last week (avg. points: 0.42)
15-year fixed: 4.31% - down from 4.37% last week (avg. points: 0.38)
5/1 ARM: 3.85% - down from 3.93% last week (avg. points: 0.39)