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Mortgage Rates Test New Depths: 30 Year at 3.62%

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It continues to get better for potential home buyers and those who are interested in refinancing and are able to take advantage of low rates (and not get caught up in bank backlog). Mortgage rates hit a new low again last week, according to the latest data from Freddie Mac.

The 30-year mortgage rate fell to 3.62%, down from 3.66% a week prior. It marked the 10th of 11 weeks in which the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate has matched or hit a new record low. The 15-year fixed rate also fell last week, averaging 2.89%, down from 2.94% a week prior.

[Click here to find mortgage rates in your area.]

For perspective, one year ago, the 30-year and 15-year rates stood at 4.6% and 3.75%, respectively.

Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac, pointed to recent lackluster data on consumer spending and a contraction in the manufacturing industry that drove Treasury bond yields lower in the past week and added new pressure to mortgage rates.

The rates follow a report on mortgage application volume earlier in the morning that showed a decline of 6.7% in demand last week.

The discrepancies and fluctuation between the more readily available weekly figures and the monthly data, many of which are more than a month in retrospect upon availability, continue to ruffle trend-spotters who are looking for confirmation that things are on the mend.

The chatter, or at least the debate, about a potential bottom picked up last week when the Case Shiller Home Price Indices showed  prices rose in April for both the 10 and 20-city composites -- the first time they didn't fall in seven months.  "While one month does not make a trend, particularly during seasonally strong buying months, the combination of rising positive monthly index levels and improving annual returns is a good sign," said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices.

Additionally, data from the National Association of Realtors showed the number of home buyers signing contracts to buy existing homes jumped nearly six percent in May. That brought existing home sales to their highest level since April of 2010.

What kind of housing trends are you seeing in your area? Let us know in the comment section below.