Today, 11/19/09, Freddie Mac reported that the average mortgage interest rate for 30 year fixed-rate mortgages was 4.83% (4.82% in the southeast), down from 4.91% a week ago. The average interest rate for 15 year fixed-rate mortgages was 4.32%, down from 4.36% last week. A year ago the 30 year rate was 6.04%.
The rate for 15 year fixed-rate mortgages is the lowest it has ever been in Freddie Mac Survey history. I can remember a few decades ago when the interest rates were over 20%! Now we have record low rates that buyers can take advantage of.
In the third quarter of 2009 there was $1.1 trillion in refinancing activity, mostly to take advantage of the lower rates. They say that this decrease and refinancing is saving the borrowers of this country $10 billion per month in lower payments to lenders.
Now, 95% of prime borrowers (as opposed to sub-prime borrowers) who had had adjustable-rate mortgages are now opting for fixed-rate products. Makes sense. Rates are low, why not lock them in place for the next 30 years?? Not rocket science is it?
As a recent post stated, new housing starts slowed last month, but that appears to be the effect of the builders waiting to see if the home buyer tax credit would, or would not, be extended and/or expanded. No one wanted to jump until they knew what the future held. Now that the extension/expansion is law perhaps we will see renewed confidence in the housing market. Though, personally, I would like to see some of the current inventory homes get sold before the developers start adding to that number once again.
The real estate market in Zephyrhills is heating up already. And not just from first-time buyers. Our winter crowd is returning from the north with thoughts of buying vacation homes here. I am closing on one such home tomorrow and just got a contract on another this evening. Almost too busy! For us, the winter season is a busy one and with interest rates so low, we may see more activity than is normal. Let's hope so!
Do keep in mind that we are a very large country. So figures that come out for the entire nation, may have little or no relevance for your particular area. In the end, it is best if you speak with a local REALTOR or financing expert to see what the situation is for your part of the United States. Florida is not Michigan, nor is Maine the same as California. Market conditions can be very different from place-to-place. Also, your own credit history, the property you want to buy, etc. will effect your specific loan options and interest rates. Your mortgage broker or bank loan officer can give you more specific information.
If you want to learn more about Freddie Mac or see the details of their survey, go to: www.freddiemac.com and click on the link for "Current Weekly Survey". They break down the survey by specific regions in the United States so you can see how your state compares to other parts of the country. They also explain the mission of Freddie Mac and offer a lot of useful information for consumers.
If you would like to speak with a lender you can find some at my website: www.jelwell.century21bnr.com . You can also speak with your own bank, credit union, or mortgage broker to see what your particular interest rate would be, should you decide to finance a home purchase.
John Elwell - REALTOR
Bill Nye Realty, Inc.
Licensed in Florida