Mortgage Interest Rates Continue to Fall

Home mortgage rates are trending downwards and presenting homeowners with an opportunity. Freddie Mac says rates are at their lowest levels since 2004 (from MarketWatch):

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Freddie Mac said Thursday that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage average dropped from a week ago to a four-and-a-half year low as bond yields declined. The 30-year fixed-rate average was 5.47% with an average 0.7 point for the week ending Dec. 11, down from 5.53% a week ago. Last year the average was 6.11%. The 30-year average has not been lower since March 25, 2004, when it averaged 5.4%, Freddie Mac said.

This may be a good time to get a mortgage evaluation. It would be worthwhile to sit down with a lender and see if there is an oppportunity to take advantage of lower rates through a refinance.

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New Conforming Loan Limits Published

The temporarily increased conforming loan limits have been released. As you may recall this is part of the $168 billion Economic Stimulus Plan which was rushed through Congress last month. Here is an excerpt from the statement issued by the Office Of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO):


Washington, DC – The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) today released the maximum conforming loan limits that will be in effect through year-end as a result of The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008. That legislation permits Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to raise their conforming loan limits in certain high-cost areas. The new jumbo limits are a function of median home prices as estimated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Not surprisingly Arizona is not significantly affected by the new conforming loan limit. In fact only the Flagstaff area experiences any change. There the conforming mortgage loan limit is increased to $450,000 (from $417,000). The new loan limits are based on the median home price by county. The limit was increased for only those areas where the median prices are greater than the current conforming loan limit ($417,000).

The Western States most affected are CA, CO, OR, WA. You can view the OFHEO published list of areas affected here.

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