Mortgage Rate Posts New Year-to-Date Low

We’ve been referring to the housing market a lot lately as a “buyer’s market.” We even wrote about it today in:
Chicago Housing Market Improves
To further prove it’s a buyer’s market out there, data shows that the latest fixed-rate mortgages have hit a new low for the year.
According to Freddie Mac, fixed-rate mortgages declined for the fifth straight week as financial markets try to figure out the true condition of the economy.
Here’s the breakdown on all the mortgage rates for the week ending May 19:
*30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM): Averaged 4.61 percent, down from last week’s average of 4.63 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.84 percent.
*15-year FRM: Averaged 3.80 percent, down from last week’s 3.82 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.24 percent.
*5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM): Averaged 3.48 percent, up from last week’s average of 3.41 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.91 percent.
*1-year Treasury-indexed ARM: Averaged 3.15 percent, up from last week’s average of 3.11 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 4.00 percent.
“Fixed mortgage rates inched down for the fifth consecutive week as financial markets try to ascertain the current strength of the economy,” said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac.
“Industrial production was unchanged in April owing to disruptions in automobile parts supplies due to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Netting out automobiles and gasoline, retail sales rose 0.2 percent in April, which was less than a third of the increase in March and the weakest growth since December 2010. However, consumer confidence, as measured by the University of Michigan, rose above the market consensus in May to the highest reading since February.
“Data on the housing market was also mixed. New construction on single-family homes fell 5.1 percent in April, with the largest declines occurring in the Midwest and South regions where tornados hit the hardest. Homebuilder confidence remained unchanged in May and near its January 2009 historical low, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. However, conventional mortgages applications rose for the past five straight weeks ending May 13th, buoyed by lower mortgage rates and stronger refinancing activity.”