Mortgage Rates Reach Another Low for 2011

For the fifth straight week, mortgage rates inched
down again–this time reaching the lowest level of the year as well as lowest
year-to-date. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.61 percent this week,
while the 15-year rate averaged 3.80 percent, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly
mortgage market survey.

The 30-year
mortgage hasn’t reached 4.61 percent or below since December 2010. Last year at
this time, it averaged 4.84 percent while the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage
averaged 4.24 percent.

The falling rates
may be yet another lure to buyers during real estate’s traditionally prime home
buying season. Owning a home has also recently been found to be more affordable
than renting in 78 percent of the major U.S. cities, according to the latest
data from Trulia.

Mortgage applications,
meanwhile, are increasing as interest rates continue to fall. Mortgage loan
application volume increased 7.8 percent this week when compared to the week
prior, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Refinancings hit the
highest level since mid-December, increasing 13.2 percent over the prior week,
while the purchase index for mortgage applications dropped 3.2 percent.

Source: “Fixed-Rate Mortgages Hit a New
Year-to-Date Low,”
Freddie Mac (May
19, 2011) and
“Mortgage Applications Grow Again on Home
 HousingWire (May 18,