Mortgage rates fell sharply, pulling back below the 5 percent mark for the first time in nearly two months. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.91 percent. The 15-year fixed rate also to an average of 4.12 percent…while the 30-year jumbo sank to 5.46 percent.
While mortgage rates had been lower in three of the past four weeks owing to concerns about Middle East tensions and the potentially negative economic consequences of higher oil prices, it was the unfolding tragedy in Japan that produced this week's movement.
Concerns among investors about a potential nuclear meltdown and worries about slower global growth stemming from the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, had investors piling into safe haven U.S. Treasuries, helping to drive mortgage rates lower. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds.
No matter what rates are doing, it's important to shop around for the best deal. To check mortgage rates in your area, log onto Bankrate.com. I'm Kristin Arnold.