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.