By Amy Hoak, MarketWatch
CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — The average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell below 5% this week, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of conforming mortgage rates, released on Thursday.
The mortgage averaged 4.95% for the week ending Feb. 24, down from 5% last week and 5.05% a year ago.
Fifteen-year fixed-rate mortgages also fell, averaging 4.22%, down from 4.27% last week. The mortgage averaged 4.4% a year ago.
Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.8% this week, down from 3.87% last week 4.16% a year ago.
But 1-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 3.4%, up slightly from 3.39% last week. The ARM averaged 4.15% a year ago.
To obtain the rates, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage and both adjustable-rate mortgages required payment of an average 0.6 point and the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage required an average 0.7 point. A point is 1% of the mortgage amount, charged as prepaid interest.
“Fixed mortgage rates eased again this holiday week amid mixed inflation data reports,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist of Freddie Mac, in a news release. “Although the core consumer price index for January rose slightly above the market consensus, house prices fell 4.1% in the fourth quarter of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller National Index. In addition, the level of the index was the lowest since the fourth quarter of 2002.”