March 5th, 2013
Mortgage rates had held steady during the last several weeks but broke this pattern during the end of February to move lower.
The latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market survey found that average fixed mortgage rates declined, which may help spark an active Spring buying season. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped an average 0.8 points to 3.51 percent for week ending February 28. This is down from 3.56 percent the previous week and 3.90 percent during the same period one year ago. In addition, 15-year FRMs also fell lower to 2.76 percent from 2.77 percent the previous week. A year ago during the same week, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.17 percent.
“Mortgage rates eased somewhat as the consumer price index in February held steady for the second month in a row,” said Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft. “House price indicators, however, showed gains in 2012. The S&P/Case-Shiller national home price index rose 7.3 percent last year, reflecting the largest four-quarter growth since the third quarter of 2006.”
Spring is typically the beginning period of a busy buying season for mortgage service companies, and low rates are expected to prompt more activity in 2013 as home prices begin to show signs of strength.