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Fixed Rates Drop, 15 year Below 4%

Mortgage Rates Drop and the 15 year is below 4% as reported by Amy Hoak with MarketWatch:  "The average rate on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell this week to its lowest level since mid-January, as the crisis in Japan caused investors to buy U.S. Treasury bonds, Freddie Mac's chief economist said Thursday.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.76% for the week ending March 17, down from 4.88% last week and 4.96% a year ago.Fifteen-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.97%, down from 4.15% last week and 4.33% a year ago. This week, the mortgage rate hit its lowest level since December.Meanwhile, 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.57% this week, down from 3.73% last week and 4.09% a year ago.

And 1-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 3.17%, down from 3.21% last week and 4.12% a year ago.

To obtain the rates, the fixed-rate mortgages required payment of an average 0.7 point, while the ARMs required an average 0.6 point. A point is 1% of the mortgage amount, charged as prepaid interest."With the crisis in Japan, investors rushed to buy the security of U.S. Treasury bonds, which lowered its yields and other interest rates as well. This allowed fixed mortgage rates to drift lower this week," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac, in a news release."

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