US 30-,15-yr mortgage rates lowest since early Apr

Thu Oct 28, 2004

WASHINGTON, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Interest rates on U.S. 30-year and 15-year mortgages fell to their lowest levels since early April, spurring more consumers to purchase their own homes, mortgage finance company Freddie Mac said on Thursday.

U.S. 30-year mortgage rates fell to an average of 5.64 percent this week from 5.69 percent last week, the lowest since they stood at 5.52 percent on April 1.

Freddie Mac said 15-year mortgages also fell to their lowest levels since they averaged 4.84 percent on April 1, averaging 5.01 percent this week. A week ago 15-year mortgages were 5.07 percent.

One-year adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.96 percent in the week, down from 4.02 percent last week.

A year ago, 30-year mortgage rates averaged 6.05 percent, 15-year mortgages 5.39 percent and the ARM 3.76 percent.

"Our latest forecast expects a brisk housing industry through year-end," Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said in a statement.

"Single-family building is likely to remain strong this quarter, as evidenced by the pace of recent new-home sales. Overall, the economy remains supportive of both new and existing homes," Nothaft said.

New single-family home sales surged unexpectedly in September, climbing 3.5 percent, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. Sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.206 million units, the highest since May and the third-highest on record.

Sales of existing U.S. homes surged 3.1 percent in September. Sales of previously owned homes rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.75 million units last month from an upwardly revised 6.55 million pace in August, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Freddie Mac said lenders charged an average of 0.7 percent in fees and points on 30-year mortgages, unchanged from a week ago. They charged 0.7 percent on 15-year mortgages, up from 0.6 percent a week ago. Fees and points on the ARM rose to 0.8 percent from 0.7 percent.

Freddie Mac is a mortgage finance company chartered by Congress that buys mortgages from lenders and packages them into securities for investors or holds them in its own portfolio.




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