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RISMEDIA, January 30, 2009-Mortgage rates fell versus one week ago, with the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate now 5.48%. According to Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey, the average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.29 discount and origination points.

The average 15-year fixed rate mortgage slipped to 5.1% and the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate retreated to 7.06%. Adjustable rate mortgages were lower also, with the average 1-year ARM pulling back to 5.87% and the 5/1 ARM sinking to 5.41%.

The post-meeting statement issued by the Federal Open Market Committee on Wednesday indicates a desire to keep borrowing rates – especially mortgage rates – low, and a willingness to take additional measures if necessary to accomplish that goal. Specifically, the Fed indicated they could increase the amount of mortgage bond purchases they’re making, extend the period of time for these purchases beyond the middle of 2009, and begin buying long-term government debt.

All would have the express goal of keeping borrowing rates for consumers and businesses at low levels, as well as increasing the availability of credit to those borrowers.

Lower mortgage rates have opened the door to refinancing for homeowners with equity. Just three months ago, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.77%, meaning a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,299.86. With the average rate having since fallen to 5.48%, the monthly payment on a $200,000 loan is now $1,133.07.

Survey Results

30-year fixed: 5.48% — down from 5.59% last week (avg. points: 0.29)
15-year fixed: 5.10% — down from 5.20% last week (avg. points: 0.37)
5/1 ARM: 5.41% — down from 5.58% last week (avg. points: 0.42)

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.

The survey is complemented by Bankrate’s weekly forward-looking Rate Trend Index, in which a panel of mortgage experts predicts which way the rates are headed over the next 30 to 45 days. Rates are unlikely to rise, panelists overwhelmingly say. More than half of panelists, 55%, forecast a further decline in rates, and 36% expect rates to remain more or less unchanged. Just 9% predict an increase in rates over the next 30 to 45 days.

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

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