For June, 2012

US 30-year mortgage rate stays at record 3.66 pct.


The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage stayed this week at the lowest level on record. Cheap mortgages have helped drive a modest housing recovery and could give the broader economy a jolt at a time when the job market is weak.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average on the 30-year loan was 3.66 percent. That’s unchanged from last week and the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

The average rate on the 15-year mortgage, a popular refinancing option, slipped to 2.94 percent.

The average rate on Five-year adjustable rate mortgages was 2.79 percent.

Rates History

Contracts to buy US homes rise, match 2-year high


Americans signed more contracts to buy previously occupied homes in May, matching the fastest pace in two years.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its index of sales agreements increased to 101.1 last month from 95.5 in April. That matches March’s reading, the highest since April 2010, when a home-buying tax credit boosted sales.

Sales of new and previously occupied homes are up over the 12 months. Builders are starting more projects. And prices are rising in most markets.

Home prices increased in 19 of 20 major U.S. cities in April from March, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index, released Tuesday. A measure of national prices rose 1.3 percent in April, the first increase in seven months.

In May, contract signings increased in all regions. The largest rise was in the West, where the index jumped 14.5 percent in May. Signings rose 6.3 percent in the Midwest, 4.8 percent in the Northeast, and 1.1 percent in the South.

Seattle-area home prices rise 2 percent in April


Home prices in the Seattle metropolitan area rose 2 percent in April, their biggest monthly gain since before the housing crisis began, according to a closely watched index.

Altogether, 19 of the 20 cities tracked by the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home prices indexes saw prices increase between March and April, according to a report released Tuesday. Seattle’s month-over-month increase topped the 1.3 percent gain in the 20-city composite index.

This region’s 2 percent rise follows a 1.7 percent jump in March after seven straight months of declines, providing further evidence that the real-estate market may be recovering.

Home prices historically rise in the spring, but Seattle prices rose even when seasonal factors were taken into consideration.

The story was similar in most other cities. Atlanta, Cleveland, Phoenix, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., experienced monthly price jumps bigger than Seattle’s.

US builders start more single-family homes


U.S. builders started work on more single-family homes in May and requested the most permits to build homes and apartments in three and a half years. The increase suggests the housing market is slowly recovering even as other areas of the economy have weakened.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that builders broke ground on 3.2 percent more single-family homes in May, the third straight monthly increase.

The government also said April was much better for housing starts than first thought. The government revised the April starts to 744,000 – up from an initially reported 717,000 and the fastest building pace since October 2008.

Even with the gains, the rate of construction and the level of permits requested remain roughly half the pace considered healthy. Yet the increases add to other signs that the home market may finally be starting to recover nearly five years after the housing bubble burst.

By region of the country, housing starts rose 14.4 percent in the West, but dropped in other parts of the country. The declines primarily reflected the weakness in apartment activity.

US rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.71 pct.


Average rates on fixed mortgages rose this week, the first increase in seven weeks. But mortgage rates remain near historic lows, boosting prospects for home sales this year.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan increased to 3.71 percent. That’s up from 3.67 percent last week, the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

The average rate on the 15-year mortgage, a popular refinancing option, rose to 2.98 percent. That’s up from 2.94 percent last week, also a record low.

The average rate on five-year adjustable rate mortgages reduced to 2.80 percent from 2.84 percent last week.

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