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15-year loan drops to record low in Freddie Mac mortgage survey

September 30, 2010 |  8:15 am

Interest rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages set another record low this week, Freddie Mac says in its latest survey of what lenders are offering to borrowers, while the 30-year loan dropped to tie the survey's all-time low.

In the last few months, lenders have reported an uptick in the use of 15-year fixed-rate loans, which are popular with refinancers seeking to pay off their mortgages more quickly. The descent of rates on these loans to below 4% was the trigger in many cases.

Freddie Mac, the giant government-sponsored mortgage finance firm, said that during the week ending Wednesday, the 15-year fixed-rate loan averaged a record low of 3.75% for well-qualified buyers who paid 0.7% of the loan amount in upfront fees and points to the lender. Last week, it averaged 3.82%, and a year ago the average 15-year rate was 4.36%.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.32% with an average 0.8% in lender fees, down from last week, when it averaged 4.37% with 0.7% paid upfront to the lender. The rate tied the record low reported four weeks ago, although the lender fees were slightly lower then, at 0.7% of the loan amount. Last year at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.94%, according to the survey.

Historical data on the mortgage costs, including adjustable rates, are on Freddie's website.

The numbers are compiled in a national survey of what lenders are offering, and mortgage pros say savvy consumers may negotiate slightly better rates. It's not easy to qualify these days, though: In addition to having solid credit and income to support payments, borrowers in the survey must have at least 20% down payments or equity in their homes.

-- E. Scott Reckard