Personal Finance > Your Home
Mortgage rates continue slide
Interest rates for long-term home loans drop for 4th straight week; one-year ARM holds record low.
February 13, 2003: 12:35 PM EST

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Mortgage rates inched lower for the fourth straight week and the one-year adjustable mortgage held at a record low as investors continued to seek safe-haven securities amid continuing geopolitical concerns in Iraq and North Korea.

For the week ending Feb. 14, the one-year adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), loosely indexed to the 10-year Treasury note, remained unchanged for the third-consecutive week and at its lowest level since Freddie Mac began tracking it in 1984. The ARM averaged 3.89 percent, with an average 0.7 point payable up front. Last year at this time, the 1-year ARM averaged 4.98 percent.

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The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.86 percent, down from 5.88 percent the prior week and well below the 6.86 percent average in place a year ago. An average 0.6 point was payable up front to the lender.

Meanwhile, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.26 percent, with an average 0.6 point payable up front, down from last week's average of 5.27 percent. A year ago, the 15-year FRM averaged 6.35 percent.

"Mortgage rates have held at record low levels thereby reducing mortgage payments and making home buying affordable for a great number of families," Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft said. "Low rates have also kept the refinance market bustling and the reduced interest rate on mortgages gave homeowners about $100 more per month to spend or save."

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Freddie Mac (FRE: down $0.55 to $53.85, Research, Estimates), or Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., is a publicly traded company the government established in 1970 to provide a flow of funds to mortgage lenders. It buys mortgages from banks, bundles them and then resells them as mortgage-backed securities.

Its products, and the products of other similar entities, have become increasingly popular as an alternative to government-backed bonds, particularly with international investors.  Top of page

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