Average US mortgage rates move little; near historic lows

WASHINGTON – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates moved little this week, remaining near historically low levels in the wake of financial disarray in Europe.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average for the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked up to 3.42 per cent from 3.41 per cent last week, staying close to its all-time low of 3.31 per cent in November 2012. The average rate is down sharply from 4.09 per cent a year ago.

The 15-year mortgage rate slipped to 2.72 per cent from 2.74 per cent last week.

After Britain’s recent vote to leave the European Union, investors fled to the safety of U.S. Treasury bonds, driving up their prices and lowering their yields. Long-term mortgage rates tend to track the yield on 10-year Treasury notes, which jumped to 1.47 per cent Wednesday from 1.37 per cent a week earlier. It rose further to 1.52 per cent Thursday morning — still far below its 1.75 per cent before the British vote.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country at the beginning of each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 per cent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage remained at 0.5 point this week. The fee for a 15-year loan rose to 0.5 point from 0.4 point last week.

Rates on adjustable five-year mortgages averaged 2.76 per cent, up from 2.68 per cent last week. The fee declined to 0.4 point from 0.5 point.