Friday, August 11, 2000

Mortgage rates head down




By Martin Crutsinger
The Associated Press

and Jeff McKinney
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WASHINGTON — The nationwide average for 30-year fixed rate mortgages fell this week to the lowest level since late last year as fears lessened that the Federal Reserve will boost interest rates further.

        Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, said Thursday that fixed-rate loans dropped to 8.04 percent, the lowest since 30-year mortgages averaged 7.96 percent for the week ending Dec. 24. Long-term mortgage rates reached a five-year high of 8.64 percent in May.

        In the Tristate, rates aren't quite as low — but it's still good news for Tristate home buyers.

        The average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage is 8.23 percent, according to a survey of 26 of the area's largest lenders by the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors this week.

        That's the lowest since Jan. 11, when the rate also was 8.23 percent. A year ago, the rate was 8.29 percent.

        The current rate makes the monthly payment on a 30-year, fixed-rate, $100,000 mortgage $749.65 — a savings of $33.48 compared with 8.70 percent in May, the highest level in four years.

        The lower rate could give Cincinnati's home sales a boost. Rising rates have brought sluggish sales in recent months.

        “As rates go down, that makes housing more affordable for everyone ... that is certainly good news for us,” said Eugene Snavley, execu tive vice president the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors.

        Private economists predicted rates could even dip below 8 percent by year's end.

        “This is good news for families who have been on the fence trying decide whether to make the plunge now and buy a home,” Frank Nothaft, an economist at Freddie Mac, said.

       



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Tristate Summary
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Industry notes: Manufacturing