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Mortgage rates hold steady, Freddie Mac survey finds

The interest rate on a 30-year fixed loan this week edges up to 4.88% from 4.87% last week, while the 15-year fixed loan is unchanged from 4.15%. Rates on adjustable loans are nearly unchanged.

March 11, 2011|By E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times

Mortgage rates held steady this week, with lenders offering 30-year fixed-rate loans at 4.88% on average and 15-year fixed loans at 4.15%, Freddie Mac reported in its latest weekly survey.

The borrowers would have paid 0.7% of the loan balance in upfront lender fees and discount points to obtain the rates, the mortgage financing firm said Thursday.

In Freddie's survey a week earlier, the 30-year loan was being offered at 4.87% and the 15-year at 4.15%. Start rates on adjustable loans were nearly unchanged as well, the survey showed.

The 30-year mortgage rate, which twice dipped to less than 4.2% last fall in the Freddie survey, climbed back above 5% in mid-February before again dropping below 5%.

Freddie nearly collapsed during the financial crisis. It was made a ward of the government to support the housing markets, and loans backed by Freddie, government-controlled Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration now make up 95% of the mortgage business.

The Freddie Mac survey is conducted each Monday through Wednesday. It asks lenders to report popular combinations of rates and fees on loans of as much as $417,000 that they are offering to borrowers with good credit, a 20% down payment or 20% home equity, and enough provable income to make the loan payments.

Well-qualified borrowers who shop around often find slightly better deals, and it's possible to pay more upfront to get a lower rate.

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