Mortgage rates are down for a fifth consecutive week, with 30-year rates approaching all-time lows and new record lows set on two other major loan types.
Average interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped to 3.35 percent this week, according to today's Freddie Mac rate survey, down from last week's average of 3.40 percent. That's only four basis points above the all-time record low in the Freddie Mac survey of 3.31 percent, set last November.
New record lows on 15-year fixed, 5-year ARM
New record lows were also set for 15-year fixed-rate loans and 5-year adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), in both cases surpassing previous lows set last week. The average rate on 15-year mortgages fell to 2.56 percent, down from 2.61 percent last week, while the average initial rate on 5-year Treasury indexed ARMs also dropped to 2.56 percent, down from 2.58 percent last week.
Rates fell following reports late last week of slower-than-expected economic growth. The Commerce Department reported Friday that real growth in the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) was at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the first quarter of 2012, less than economists had expected.
Refinance demand up
The decline in rates over the past five months has spurred demand for mortgage refinancing, with refinance applications last week hitting their highest level since January, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).
Applications filed under the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) made up 34 percent of all refinance applications, their largest share since the MBA began tracking HARP applications last winter.
Demand for home purchase mortgages was down slightly last week compared to the week before, but on an annual basis showed a 13 percent gain from the same week one year before.