Interest Rate Roundup for Feb. 24, 2011

Interest Rate Roundup
Mortgage rate graph


  • 5.09% (30-year fixed)
  • 0.45 (average points)

Here's a look at the state of mortgage rates from's weekly national survey of large banks and thrifts conducted Feb. 23, 2011.

While it can be statistically proven that the economy is rebounding, the recovery clearly is yet to rescue housing, and that weakness was reflected in the second straight weekly decline in mortgage rates.

According to Bankrate's latest national survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped 7 basis points, to 5.09 percent.

Other mortgages tended to follow suit, with the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage falling to 4.37 percent, a decline of 6 basis points. A basis point is one-hundredth of 1 percentage point. The decline was also 6 basis points for jumbo mortgages, or generally home loans larger than $417,000, which sank to 5.67 percent.

Meanwhile, the 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage skidded 12 basis points, to an average of 3.93 percent. With a 5/1 ARM the mortgage rate is fixed for five years, then adjusted annually thereafter.

Corporate profits have been rising sharply in recent quarters, and several recent surveys found economists expect the U.S. economy would grow more than 3 percent this year. However, that improvement runs counter to declining performances in the housing sector.

This week, the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Index, which measures home prices around the country, found that housing slipped again in December. The widely watched barometer of the housing industry's vitality said home prices have now given up nearly all the gains made after prices sank to their recessionary lows in the first quarter of 2009. Prices today are approximate to where they were in early 2003, the Case-Shiller Index found.

If current trends continue, housing is likely to plumb new depths -- representing the dreaded double-dip downturn that analysts had hoped would be avoided. Of the 20 major markets Case-Shiller surveys, only San Diego and Washington, D.C. have risen in the past year.

"Despite improvements in the overall economy, housing continues to drift lower and weaker," says David M. Blitzer, chairman of S&P's index committee.

Find out what your monthly mortgage payment could be using Bankrate's mortgage calculator.

-- Gregg Fields




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