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Mortgage Rates Hit New All-Time Record Lows

If you've been waiting for the mortgage market to bottom out, this might be the week.

This morning, Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) showing mortgage rates, fixed and adjustable, reaching all-time record lows providing further incentive for those homeowners looking to refinance.

The 30-year fixed averaged 4.15 percent, breaking the previous record low of 4.17 percent set November 11, 2010.

Here's the breakdown on today's mortgage rates:

  • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.15 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending August 18, 2011, down from last week when it averaged 4.32 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.42 percent.
  • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.36 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.50 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.90 percent.
  • The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.08 percent this week, with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.13 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.56 percent.
  • The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.86 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.89 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 3.53 percent.
Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac said that economic news continues to weigh down interest rates.

"The Federal Reserve's policy statement last week and ongoing market concerns over the European debt market carried momentum into this week allowing all mortgage products in our survey to reach all-time record lows. For instance, 30-year fixed mortgage rates are now the lowest in over 50 years. In comparison, the Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated the average effective mortgage rate was about 5.3 percent on single-family loans outstanding during the second quarter of 2011," he said.

While the vast majority of those applying for a mortgage were trying to refinance, there is some question as to how many Americans can actually take advantage of these historic mortgage interest rates.

"Not surprising, many homeowners took advantage of this low mortgage rate environment and have already refinanced their loans. The refinance share of applications averaged nearly 70 percent of all mortgage activity in the first half of this year, according to our survey. In addition, an increasing share of refinancing borrowers chose to shorten their loan terms during the second quarter, according to Freddie Mac's Quarterly Product Transition Report," he added.

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Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and Buy, Close, Move In!. She blogs about money and real estate at ThinkGlink.com and The Equifax Personal Finance Blog, and is Chief Content Strategist at RealtyJoin.com, a community for real estate investors.