30-year mortgage rate falls to record 3.56%

@CNNMoney July 12, 2012: 11:43 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Mortgage rates on 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to historic lows once again this week, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

The rate for a 30-year mortgage fell to 3.56%, down from 3.62% last week, Freddie Mac (FRE) said in its weekly report. The 30-year fixed rate has matched or hit a new low for 11 of the past 12 weeks. Last year, the 30-year fixed rate stood at 4.51%.

Meanwhile, the 15-year fixed rate fell to 2.86%, down from 2.89% last week, Freddie Mac said. A year ago, the rate was 3.65%.

"Following a lackluster employment report for June, long-term U.S. Treasury bond yields eased somewhat this week allowing fixed mortgage rates to reach yet another record low," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is popular among first-time homebuyers who want to minimize their monthly payments. Those who take out a $200,000 loan at the current rate would have payments of $904 a month and would pay $126,000 in interest over the life of the loan.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is popular among homeowners who are seeking to refinance or to buy a bigger home. The monthly payments are larger, but borrowers pay less in total interest over the life of the loan. At the current rate, a borrower financing $200,000 with a 15-year mortgage would pay $1,368 a month and spend a total of just over $46,000 in interest.

Rates will probably stay in this record low territory for a while, said Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance.

"As long as we have turmoil in the global economy, we'll see downward pressure on interest rates," he said. "We could be six months or a year away from [when the global economy starts to heal]."

In fact, Cecala believes rates could go even lower.

Mortgage rates often track Treasury bond yields and there's usually about 1.7 percentage-point difference between the yield on a 10-year bond and the rate on a 30-year fixed rate. Currently, however, the difference is more than 2 percentage points.

"The spread between 10-year Treasurys and 30-year rates is historically high," he said.  To top of page

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.80%3.88%
15 yr fixed3.20%3.23%
5/1 ARM3.84%3.88%
30 yr refi3.82%3.93%
15 yr refi3.20%3.23%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
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