Mortgage Rates Finish Year Near Record Lows

Freddie Mac released its weekly update on national mortgage rates this morning, reporting that average fixed mortgage rates are finishing the year near record lows.

Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRM) currently average 3.35%, down two basis points from last week's 3.37%, but three basis points higher than where rates were two weeks ago. Fifteen-year FRMs cost 2.65%, unchanged from last week and identical to where they were six weeks ago.

Among adjustable-rate mortgages, 5/1 ARMs are cheaper by one basis point at 2.7%, while one-year ARMs are somewhat more expensive than last week at 2.56%.

Of the four, 15-year FRMs have fallen the most so far this year. In Freddie's Jan. 5 update, that particular flavor of mortgage cost 3.23%, or nearly 22% more than today's rate.

Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac, said in a statement that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.66% for 2012, the lowest annual average in at least 65 years. "Rates on 30-year fixed mortgages were nearly 0.6 percentage points below that of the beginning of the year, which translates into an interest payment savings of nearly $98,600 over the life of a $200,000 loan," he is quoted as saying in Freddie Mac's press release.

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