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Mortgage Rates: Conforming 30 Year Fixed Rates Rise Slightly

By: | February 22nd, 2013

FreeRateUpdate.com’s recent survey shows that conforming 30 year fixed rates rose slightly this week by .125% and are now as low as 3.250%. According to the recent Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, average fixed rates had a small increase, but have seen little change over the past four weeks. According to Frank NOthaft, Vice President and Chief Economist of Freddie Mac, “Mortgage rates have been relatively stable, hovering near record lows, for the past four weeks which is helping to spur new home construction. For instance, new construction on single-family houses rose to an annualized rate of 613,000 in January, the most since July 2008. In addition, single-family building permits were up to the highest issuance level since June 2008.”

Other conforming rates have remained the same. Current 15 year fixed mortgage rates are as low as 2.375% and 5/1 ARM loan rates are as low as 2.375%. Having good credit is required by borrowers who are seeking low interest rates. Stable employment and income is also required to be documented. Sufficient assets for the down payment, reserves and other costs related to the loan must be available and verified. Lenders may request additional information after examining the initial document submissions. When homeowners refinance, the same procedures are followed except for HARP loans. Borrowers who obtain a HARP refinance are not subject to extensive documentation or an appraisal in most cases. HARP 2.0 is for underwater borrowers who have loans that were sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac prior to June 1, 2009. The expansion of the HARP program eliminated loan to value caps which makes it available to more homeowners. If homeowners are denied a HARP loan due to lender overlays, continuing to seek a lender to work with is essential since restrictions can differ and an approval after several attempts is often successful. This process can be easily done by submitting the online form which will return a response almost instantly. The online inquiry can be used for any type of purchase mortgage or refinance, including HARP.

Today’s FHA 30 year fixed mortgage interest rates are as low as 3.250% and FHA 15 year fixed mortgage rates are as low as 2.750%. Decreasing .250%, FHA 5/1 ARM loan rates are now as low as 2.250%. FHA’s low down payment requirement of 3.5% remains the same, but FHA’s annual mortgage insurance premium will be increasing effective April 1st. Home buyers can still use housing grants or loans to reduce the cost of the FHA mortgage, as well as, gifts that are approved according to FHA guidelines. FHA closing costs are high because of the upfront mortgage insurance premium and other FHA fees, but home buyers often use allowable seller concessions to reduce these expenses. The FHA streamline refinance is still one of the easiest refinance programs available. With no cash out, the streamline does not require an appraisal, a credit history or other documentation. For those homeowners who have loans that were endorsed prior to June 1, 2009, the FHA streamline offers a drastically reduced upfront and annual mortgage insurance premium. Since FHA purchase loans and FHA refinances can be obtained by any FHA approved lender, the online form is available for submission and is a convenient way to obtain more information. The borrower can expect to receive a response almost immediately after submitting the form.

Current jumbo 30 year fixed interest rates are as low as 3.375% and jumbo 15 year fixed mortgage rates are as low as 2.700%, both remaining the same. Decreasing by .125%, jumbo 5/1 ARM loan rates are now as low as 2.500%. Lenders look for borrowers to have excellent credit in order to obtain low jumbo interest rates. Being well qualified is also essential and will require documentation for employment, income and assets. The large down payment and additional months of reserves requires that borrowers have a substantial amount of assets available to complete the mortgage. Since the jumbo loan market is competitive, borrowers may need to shop around and can easily do so by submitting the online form which does not require a social security number, but will return a response almost instantly.

MBS prices (mortgage backed securities) are up +1/32 (FNMA 30 yr 3.0 at 102.29) which is above earlier levels. Mortgage rates are affected by MBS prices and move in the opposite direction. There is no economic data scheduled for release today.

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