Mortgage Rates Weekly Update, March 22, 2013

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The week of March 18 has been an interesting but flat one for mortgage rate averages. Many expected rate metrics to move sideways without any real adjustment up or down until significant market changes occurred later in the Spring. While the rate averages have been moving upwards, it has been "minimally incremental," meaning that for the average Joe the 30-year fixed mortgage rate is still well seated between 3.675 percent and 3.75 percent. The fears of rates moving upward to the dreaded 4 percent mark have not shown any strong sign of manifesting for March 2013.

Friday's close only has news coming from Europe, with everyone in the financial and media world chattering on about Cyprus' idea of charging bank account savers a fee to deposit their funds as a cost of bailout. The proposal failed at the ballot, but consternation in still churning on whether the same idea would gain traction anywhere else and whether it signals a new round of contagion among global banks and their solvency. Again, the matter is contained in the island of Cyprus and has nothing to do with the real estate economy of the U.S., but long gone are the days when such overseas issues were ignored.

In fact, with no other major economic reports in the wind, some lenders are starting to wonder if a sense of stability may be settling in. If so, it would conceivably drive mortgage rates down versus up. That would mean less income for banks and lenders as a result. That said, lenders are still dubbing the current market as a "rising rate" market, which some critics might wonder could constitute mental denial of the obvious. It's a bit of a harsh opinion, but when a rate goes down and has nothing to inflate it, calling it a rising rate seems borderline facetious.

So for the week close the 30-year fixed mortgage is falling off the 3.75 percent mark closer to 3.675 percent, its 15-year fixed counterpart is at a flat 3 percent and potential drop to 2.875 percent, the five-year adjustable rate mortgage average is still entrenched between 2.625 and 3.25 percent, and the VA/HUD loan option is at a competitive 3.375 to 3.5 percent.

About John Krystof

John Krystof writes about personal finance and money matters for He was born and educated in Central Europe, but presently resides in New York City.

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