NEW YORK, Feb. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Fixed mortgage rates retreated, with the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate falling to 3.73 percent this week, according to Bankrate.com's weekly national survey. The average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.33 discount and origination points.
The average 15-year fixed mortgage rate slipped below the 3 percent mark, to 2.96 percent, while the larger jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage plunged to 4.1 percent. Adjustable rate mortgages were also lower, with the 3-year ARM inching down to 3 percent and the 5-year ARM sinking to 2.68 percent.
Mortgage rates declined following renewed concerns about the global economy and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's reassurances that stimulative bond-buying will continue. Mortgage rates had moved modestly higher in recent weeks on worries that the Fed would prematurely curtail their purchases of long-term bonds, but Bernanke cast those notions aside. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds.
The last time mortgage rates were above 5 percent was Apr. 2011. At the time, the average 30-year fixed rate was 5.07 percent, meaning a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,082.22. With the average rate now 3.73 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $923.96, a difference of $158 per month for anyone refinancing now.
30-year fixed: 3.73% -- down from 3.80% last week (avg. points: 0.33) 15-year fixed: 2.96% -- down from 3.02% last week (avg. points: 0.32) 5/1 ARM: 2.68% -- down from 2.76% last week (avg. points: 0.32)
Bankrate's national weekly mortgage survey is conducted each Wednesday from data provided by the top 10 banks and thrifts in the top 10 markets.
The survey is complemented by Bankrate's weekly Rate Trend Index, in which a panel of mortgage experts predicts which way the rates are headed over the next seven days. Nearly half – 46 percent – of respondents predict mortgage rates will decline further. The remainder are evenly split, with 27 percent forecasting an increase and 27 percent expecting mortgage rates to remain more or less unchanged over the next seven days.
The Bankrate network of companies includes Bankrate.com, Interest.com, Mortgage-calc.com, Nationwide Card Services, InsureMe, CreditCardGuide.com, Bankaholic, CreditCards.com and NetQuote. Each of these businesses helps consumers to make informed decisions about their personal finance matters. The company's flagship brand, Bankrate.com is a destination site of personal finance channels, including banking, investing, taxes, debt management and college finance. Bankrate.com is the leading aggregator of rates and other information on more than 300 financial products, including mortgages, credit cards, new and used auto loans, money market accounts and CDs, checking and ATM fees, home equity loans and online banking fees. Bankrate.com reviews more than 4,800 financial institutions in 575 markets in 50 states. Bankrate.com provides financial applications and information to a network of more than 75 partners, including Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO), America Online (NYSE: AOL), The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times (NYSE: NYT). Bankrate.com's information is also distributed through more than 500 newspapers.