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Mortgage Rates: Jobless Claims at Lowest Level Since 2008; Rates Remain Unchanged

By: | February 14th, 2013

Jobless claims for the week ending February 9th fell to the lowest level since July of 2008, according to the Labor Department. Data showed that claims dropped 27,000 to 341,000 which is down from 361,000 same time one year ago. Also released, the Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey reported that average rates remain unchanged from last week.

Current 30 year fixed mortgage rates are as low as 3.125%, 15 year fixed mortgage loan rates are as low as 2.375% and 5/1 ARM loan rates are as low as 2.375%. When applying for a mortgage, it is necessary to have good credit in order to receive low rates. Documents for employment, income and assets must be submitted to the lender for verification. A full appraisal will be ordered so that loan to value ratios can be determined. These are the basic guidelines for purchase loans and traditional mortgage refinances. HARP refinances are for borrowers who have loans that were sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac before June 1, 2009. The elimination of loan to value caps, known as HARP 2.0, also eliminated the need for an appraisal in most cases. Most HARP loans require less documentation since they are designed to have a streamlined process. Since lender overlays can differ, any homeowners who were denied access to the HARP program should look for another lender to work with. For this reason, the online form is available for submission and will return a response almost instantly. This form can also be used for any other type of mortgage product.

Today’s FHA 30 year fixed mortgage interest rates are as low as 3.250%, FHA 15 year fixed mortgage rates are as low as 3.125% and FHA 5/1 ARM loan rates are as low as 2.500%. FHA annual mortgage insurance premiums will be increasing as of April 1st. Borrowers who are interested in an FHA mortgage should apply prior to that date to avoid this increase. Even with changes being made, FHA mortgages still remain attractive to first time home buyers because of the low down payment requirements and other benefits offered through FHA. The FHA closing costs (APR) are high because of the upfront mortgage insurance premium and other FHA fees, but these are often paid with allowable seller concessions which can be up to 6%. One of the benefits of an FHA mortgage is the FHA streamline refinance which, with no cash out, does not require an appraisal, a credit history or any other documentation. The FHA streamline is offering homeowners, who have loans that were endorsed prior to June 1, 2009, the chance to refinance with drastically reduced upfront and annual mortgage insurance premiums until the end of 2013. Homeowners can obtain the FHA streamline loan through any FHA approved lender. This can be done by submitting the online form which does not require the input of a social security number.

Current jumbo 30 year fixed mortgage rates are as low as 3.375%, jumbo 15 year fixed rates are as low as 2.700% and jumbo 5/1 ARM loan rates are as low as 2.750%. Obtaining low jumbo rates requires that borrowers have excellent credit, as well as, good qualifications for employment, income and assets. Substantial assets are necessary in order to fund the larger down payment and additional months of reserves that are typically required with a jumbo loan. Since guidelines usually vary from lender to lender, borrowers should shop around and compare different offers. Information about jumbo mortgages and jumbo lenders can be obtained by submitting the online form which will return a response almost immediately.

MBS prices (mortgage backed securities) are up +10/32 (FNMA 30 yr 3.0 at 102.30) which is above morning levels. MBS prices affected mortgage rates which move in the opposite direction. Demand for the 30 year Treasury auction was strong and helped MBS prices. Mortgage rates may reprice lower.

FreeRateUpdate.com surveys more than two dozen wholesale and direct lenders’ rate sheets to determine the most accurate mortgage rates available to well qualified consumers at about a 1 point origination fee.

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