Movement in mortgage rates was balanced out by unrest in the Middle East, spiking oil prices, and an upbeat employment report for February. While the risk to the economy from higher oil prices remains, the pickup in job growth was enough to keep a floor under mortgage rates, for this week at least. Yields on long-term government bonds, to which mortgage rates are closely related, have yo-yoed up and down in recent days. Signs of economic strengthening lead to higher bond yields and mortgage rates, while concerns about weakness lead rates lower.
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 5.04 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $1,078.54, a difference of $163 per month for anyone refinancing now.
30-year fixed: 5.04% - up from 5.03% last week (avg. points: 0.42)
15-year fixed: 4.32% - up from 4.31% last week (avg. points: 0.39)
5/1 ARM: 3.88% - up from 3.85% last week (avg. points: 0.37)