Freddie Mac: 30-year fixed rate holds steady at 4.5%
Mortgage rates changed little this week, with the 30-year fixed loan steady at 4.5% in one widely watched survey despite the imminent end of a Federal Reserve bond-buying program that has helped keep long-term rates low.
Freddie Mac said the 30-year loan rate was unchanged in its survey of lenders early this week, although borrowers would have paid slightly more to lenders upfront to obtain the 4.5% rate -- 0.8% of the loan amount on average, compared to 0.7% last week.
The Freddie Mac survey, released Thursday morning, said the typical offering rate for 15-year fixed home loans was 3.69%, up from 3.67% last week, with 0.7% of the amount paid to lenders upfront.
Rates also rose a hair for jumbo mortgages -- home loans too large (above $729,750 in L.A. and Orange counties) for purchase by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the other giant government-controlled mortgage buyer. The typical rate for a 30-year fixed jumbo rose from 5.20% to 5.23% this week, according to bankrate.com.
Mortgage rates tend to track the yields on long-term government bonds, which have stayed low despite the end -- as of June 30 -- of the Fed's $600-billion program to buy Treasury bonds. The yield on the 10-year Treasury was down slightly this morning at just 2.92%.
Analysts said demand for Treasury securities remains high because of the sluggish U.S. economic recovery and concerns that weaker European nations may not be able to repay their debts as scheduled.
Freddie Mac, the giant government-backed firm that buys and guarantees mortgages to support the housing markets, surveys lenders across the nation early every week. It asks what combination of rates and lender fees they are offering to borrowers with solid credit and 20% down payments or, in the case of refinancings, 20% equity in their homes.
--E. Scott Reckard
Photo: Home for sale in Palmdale. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times