The average 15-year fixed mortgage rate inched downward to 3.04 percent while the jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage retreated to 4.43 percent both record lows. Adjustable mortgage rates were lower with the average 5/1 ARM rate falling to 2.89 percent and the 7/1 adjustable pulling back to 3.05 percent. Both of those are also record lows.
Weak retail sales were the latest indicator of a flagging economy. While Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke gave no indication of further stimulus in his semiannual Congressional testimony the summer economic swoon gave bond investors all the excuse they needed to continue piling into government and mortgage-backed bonds. Mortgage rates are closely related to the yields on such bonds.
The last time mortgage rates were above 6 percent was Nov. 2008. At the time the average 30-year fixed rate was 6.33 percent meaning a $200000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1241.86. With the average rate now 3.78 percent the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $929.64 a difference of $312 per month for anyone refinancing now.
30-year fixed: 3.78% -- down from 3.79% last week (avg. points: 0.43)
15-year fixed: 3.04% -- down from 3.05% last week (avg. points: 0.32)
5/1 ARM: 2.89% -- down from 2.95% last week (avg. points: 0.33)
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.