Mortgage rates hold steady
The 30-year fixed rate remains at 5.34%, as homeowners get boost from stimulus bill and Obama unveils his housing fix.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Mortgage rates held steady over the past week, as homeowners got a boost from the stimulus bill and President Obama unveiled a foreclosure-prevention plan on Wednesday.
The average 30-year fixed mortgage stayed constant at 5.34% for the week ended Feb. 18, according to Bankrate.com.
The average 15-year fixed rate mortgage sank below the 5% threshold to 4.93%;the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate slipped to 6.92% from 6.98%.
Adjustable-rate mortgages were mixed, with the average 1-year ARM falling to 5.47% from 5.67% and the 5/1 ARM holding at 5.37%.
"Interest rates are moving in a sideways pattern and I don't expect to see a jump out of this range for a little while," said Mike Larson, an analyst at Weiss Research.
"The government is playing a spread game. It's selling Treasurys and buying mortgage-backed securities, so it's suppressing mortgage yields and keeping those rates stable. But demand for U.S. debt is not unlimited, at some point, people may be reluctant to buy it," Larson added.
In the past week, the president signed the stimulus package, which offers first-time homeowners a maximum tax credit of $8,000. On Wednesday, he unveiled his plan to stem foreclosures by modifying loans for borrowers both at risk or already in default, and allowing certain homeowners to refinance.