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Mortgage rates continue to hover at low levels, unemployment drops

Posted on Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 4:44:37 PM

American consumers were again afforded prime residential financing opportunities last week, as mortgages rates again stayed at affordable levels.

Information released Thursday by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) detailed mortgages remained largely unchanged in the week ending February 7. An average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.53 percent during this period, the same as the week prior. During the same period in 2012, a 30-year FRM averaged 3.87 percent. Meanwhile, the average for 15-year FRMs decreased from 2.81 percent to 2.77 percent last week. One year ago, they averaged 3.16 percent, the report said.

"Mortgage rates were either unchanged or lower this week following a mostly positive employment data report for January," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac.

In addition to steady mortgage rates, consumers were given more good news when the U.S Labor Department released information on the total number of American citizens seeking out unemployment benefits recently fell to the lowest level in five years. The total number of those claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending January 19 was 5,590,480 - a drop of 326,513 from the previous week. During the  week ending February 2, the advance number of seasonally adjusted initial claims was 366,000, having decreased of 5,000 from the preceding week's revised figure of 371,000, the Labor Department noted.