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Fixed mortgage rates hit new lows once again

(MoneyWatch) Fixed mortgage rates have fallen to new lows once again this week, according to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS). Rates declined again after a weaker than expected jobs report and elections in the eurozone threatening stability.

The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed rate-mortgage (FRM) has averaged below four percent for all but one week since Dec. 8, 2011.

Rates for the week ending May 10, 2012 are as follows:

  • Thirty-year FRM averaged 3.83 percent, down slightly from last week's average of 3.84 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.63 percent.

  • The average rate for a 15-year FRM fell to 3.05 percent, down from last week's average of 3.07 percent. One year ago, the average for a 15-year FRM was 3.82 percent.

  • Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM) averaged 2.81 percent this week, down from last week's average of 2.85 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.41 percent.

  • The average rate for a 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.73 percent this week, up from last week's average of 2.70 percent. One year ago, the 1-year ARM averaged 3.11 percent.

According to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist with Freddie Mac, the drop in fixed mortgage rates isn't surprising, given recent economic concerns.

"Following April's weaker than expected employment report, and the French and Greek election results raising concerns over the stability of the Euro currency zone, long-term Treasury bond yields declined allowing fixed mortgage rates to ease to new all-time record lows this week. The economy added just 115,000 jobs, below the market consensus forecast and less than in March. And although the unemployment rate declined, it reflected fewer people actively seeking jobs," he said in a press release.

Mortgage interest rates could stay low for the rest of this year. But why wait? If you can afford to refinance, and have enough equity in your home, you should start shopping around for a mortgage lender as soon as possible.

Ilyce Glink

Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling book author and founder of Best Money Moves, an employee benefit program that helps reduce financial stress. She also owns, where readers can find real estate and personal finance resources.

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