Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Low Mortgage Rates

By: Corey Mutterperl

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Mortgage interest rates are already flirting with record lows and the Federal Reserve's move to buy up government debt will send those rates even lower. But it doesn't look like it will get any easier for borrowers - even those with good credit.

Bankrate.com reported Thursday that the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 5.29%, compared with 5.37% in the prior week. In January, rates fell as low as 5.28%.

This week's Bankrate.com data do not even reflect the Fed's Wednesday announcement that it will purchase $300 billion in long-term government debt.

"This is a big commitment made by the Fed," said Mike Larson, a real estate analyst for Weiss Research, "like going all in in poker. The Fed is buying anything and everything to drive down rates."

The 10-year Treasury yield is used to help calculate 10-year mortgage rates, so as the yield falls, the corresponding mortgage interest rate follows.

Larson said he would not be surprised to see mortgage rates drop into the 4.5% range soon. If they do, that would surpass the 4.7% loans available just after World War II, the cheapest mortgages in American history, according to Larson.

However, one expert cautioned that mortgage rates may not fall as quickly as Treasury yields.

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