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Mortgage Rates Hold Steady

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RISMEDIA, February 20, 2009-Mortgage rates were largely unchanged from one week ago, with the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate remaining at 5.34%. According to Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey, the average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.41 discount and origination points.

The average 15-year fixed rate mortgage sank below the 5% threshold to 4.93% and the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate dipped to 6.92%. Adjustable rate mortgages were mixed, with the average 1-year ARM pulling back to 5.47% and the 5/1 ARM holding at 5.37%.

Mortgage rates finished where they started one week ago after yo-yoing up and down in the days preceding President Obama’s housing announcement. With the government committed to keeping mortgage rates low and recession fears continuing to grip investors, mortgage rates may head lower in the weeks to come. But an opposite force that cannot be ignored is the risk that foreign central banks that buy so much U.S. government debt will turn away amid the surge in issuance by the Treasury. If foreign banks do curtail their purchases, that would drive interest rates higher for government, corporate, and consumer borrowers.

Mortgage rates remain significantly lower than six months ago. Back in August, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.66%, meaning a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,285.25. With the average rate now at 5.34%, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $1,115.58, a savings of $170 per month for a homeowner refinancing now.

Survey Results

30-year fixed: 5.34% — unchanged from last week (avg. points: 0.41)
15-year fixed: 4.93% — down from 5.03% last week (avg. points: 0.41)
5/1 ARM: 5.37% — unchanged last week (avg. points: 0.45)

Bankrate’s national weekly mortgage survey is conducted each Wednesday from data provided by the top 10 banks and thrifts in the top 10 markets.

For more information, visit http://www.bankrate.com/mortgagerates.

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