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Mortgage rates sink to 2014 low

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Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell this week for a second straight week as the spring home-buying season has gotten off to a slow start.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate for the 30-year loan declined to 4.21 percent from 4.29 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage eased to 3.32 percent from 3.38 percent.

Rates have not been this low since the week of Nov. 7, when they were at 4.16 percent.

Mortgage rates have risen almost a full percentage point since hitting record lows about a year ago.

Warmer weather has yet to boost home-buying as it normally does. Rising prices and higher rates have made affordability a problem for would-be buyers, while many homeowners are reluctant to list their properties for sale.

Roughly a third of homeowners owe more on their mortgage than they could recoup from a sale.

Data released Tuesday showed that U.S. home prices rose at a slightly slower pace in the 12 months that ended in March, a sign that weak sales have begun to restrain the housing market's sharp price gains. Real-estate data provider CoreLogic said prices rose 11.1 percent in March compared with March 2013. Though a sizable increase, that was down a bit from February's 12.2 percent year-over-year increase.

Home sales and construction have faltered since last fall, slowing the economy. A harsh winter, higher buying costs and a limited supply of available homes have discouraged many potential buyers. Existing-home sales in March reached their lowest level in 20 months.

Some signs suggest that buying might be picking up a bit as the spring season gets underway. Signed contracts to buy homes rose in March for the first time in nine months, the National Association of Realtors said last week.

The increase in mortgage rates over the year was driven by speculation that the Federal Reserve would reduce its $85 billion-a-month bond purchases, which have helped keep long-term interest rates low. Indeed, the Fed has announced four $10 billion declines in its monthly bond purchases since December.

The latest came last week as Fed officials decided to reduce the monthly purchases to $45 billion a month, because they believe the economy is steadily healing. However, the central bank expects its benchmark short-term rate to remain unusually low.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen told Congress this week that the economy is improving but noted that the job market remains "far from satisfactory" and inflation is still below the Fed's target rate.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week. The average doesn't include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage declined to 0.6 point from 0.7 point a week earlier. The fee for a 15-year loan remained at 0.6 point.

The average rate on a one-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 2.43 percent from 2.45 percent. The average fee slipped to 0.4 point from 0.5 point.

The average rate on a five-year adjustable mortgage was unchanged at 3.05 percent. The fee rose to 0.5 point from 0.4 point.

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  • The Color is Green
    Prices are up....wages are down....homes are not affordable....DUH

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  1. I think the poster was being sarcastic and only posting or making fun of what is usually posted on here about anything being built in BR or d'town for that matter.

  2. Great news IRL fans: TURBO the IMS sanctioned movie about slugs running the Indy 500 has caught the Securities and Exchange Commission because Dreamworks had to take a $132MILLION write down...because the movie was such a flop. See, the Indy/IMS magic soiled another pair of drawers. Bwahahahahahaha! How's CARTOWN doing? HAHAHAHA...Indy is for losers.

  3. So disappointed in WIBC. This is the last straw to lose a good local morning program. I used to be able to rely on WIBC to give me good local information, news, weather and traffic on my 45 minute commute.Two incidents when I needed local, accurate information regarding severe weather were the first signs I could not now rely on WIBC. I work weekend 12 hour nights for a downtown hospital. This past winter when we had the worst snowfall in my 50 years of life, I came home on a Sunday morning, went to sleep (because I was to go back in Sunday night for another 12 hour shift), and woke up around 1 p.m. to a house with no electricity. I keep an old battery powered radio around and turned on WIBC to see what was going on with the winter storm and the roads and the power outage. Sigh. Only policital stuff. Not even a break in to update on the winter storm warning. The second weather incident occurred when I was driving home during a severe thunderstorm a few months ago. I had already gotten a call from my husband that a tornado warning was just southwest of where I had been. I turned to WIBC to find out what direction the storm was headed so I could figure out a route home, only to find Rush on the air, and again, no breaking away from this stupidity to give me information. Thank God for my phone, which gave me the warning that I was driving in an area where a tornado was seen. Thanks for nothing WIBC. Good luck to you, Steve! We need more of you and not the politics of hatred that WIBC wants to shove at us. Good thing I have Satellite radio.

  4. I read the retail roundup article and tried Burritos and Beers tonight. I'm glad I did, for the food was great. Fresh authentic Mexican food. Great seasoning on the carne asada. A must try!!! Thanks for sharing.

  5. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...

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