Interest Rate Roundup for July 7, 2011

Interest Rate Roundup
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  • 4.79% (30-year fixed)
  • 0.32 (average points)

Here's a look at the state of mortgage rates from's weekly national survey of large banks and thrifts conducted July 6, 2011.

As the nation's top housing official declared the worst may be over for the housing price slump, mortgage rates made an upward move this week.

Bankrate's latest weekly survey found an average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage had an interest rate of 4.79 percent, up 8 basis points from a week earlier. A basis point is one-hundredth of 1 percentage point. The relatively sizable gain for the 30-year mortgage may have been partly due to a shift in the survey sample.

Another popular mortgage, the 15-year fixed-rate home loan, followed suit, rising to 3.9 percent from 3.86 percent last week. Fixed-rate jumbo mortgages, or generally those for more than $417,000, averaged 5.27 percent, compared to 5.21 percent last week.

With adjustable mortgages, the 5/1 ARM rose to 3.49 percent, an increase of 4 basis points.

In an interview on the July 3 edition of CNN's State of the Union program, Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said he believes "it's very unlikely that we will see a significant further decline" in home prices.

Donovan added that "the real question is when will we start to see sustainable increases." His comments were posted on CNN's website.

There have been some signs of housing beginning a weak recovery. The most recent Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home-price index found home prices rose from March to April, the first monthly gain in eight months. However, prices were still down compared to April 2010.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors last week announced pending contracts to buy existing homes were up 8.2 percent in May. Lawrence Yun, the NAR's chief economist, said sales would be stronger if lenders hadn't overly tightened lending standards following the market collapse. " If banks would simply return to normal sound underwriting standards and begin lending to more creditworthy borrowers, we'd get a much faster recovery in the housing sector," Yun said in a release accompanying the pending sales survey.

In his CNN interview, Donovan appeared to agree with that sentiment. "We can't overcorrect," he said. "We can't go so far in the other direction that we cut off homeownership for people who really can be successful homeowners."

-- Gregg Fields




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