Mortgage Rates Follow Treasury Yields to New Lows

Lingering worries about the European debt crisis continue to drive investors to U.S. government bonds, sending fixed mortgage rates down to another record low.

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.49 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending July 26, down from 3.53 percent the previous week. At the same time in 2011, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.55 percent.

The 15-year fixed averaged 2.80 percent (0.7 point), a drop from 2.83 the week before.

Adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) actually saw a small boost, with the 5-year ARM averaging 2.74 percent (0.6 point), an increase from 2.69 percent the previous week. The 1-year ARM averaged 2.71 percent (0.5 point), up from 2.69 percent previously.

“Market concerns over the strength of the economic recovery brought long-term Treasury yields to new lows this week, allowing fixed mortgage rates to reach record levels,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac VP and chief economist. “The Conference Board Leading Economic Index showed the largest monthly decline in June since September 2011. Existing home sales fell to 4.36 million homes (annualized) in June and represented the slowest pace since October 2011. Similarly, new home sales fell in June to their lowest level since January of this year.”

Bankrate also posted record results for the fourth week in a row, with the 30-year fixed falling to 3.75 percent from 3.78 percent the previous week. The 15-year fixed fell to 3.00 percent from 3.04 percent.

According to Bankrate’s data, 5/1-year ARMs averaged 2.89 percent, the same as the week before.

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Short Sale Bill Addresses Slow Approval from 2nd Lien Holders

Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) recently introduced a bill to speed up the short sale process by requiring subordinate mortgage lien holders to make a decision on a short sale within 45 days.

McNerney’s bill proposes that if the lender does not make a decision within the given time period, the short sale will be approved on the 46th day.

The bill, titled Fast Help For Homeowners (FHFH) Act, received strong support from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

“Second mortgage lien holders frequently hold up and cancel the short sale transaction while trying to collect the largest possible payout in exchange for releasing the homeowner’s lien, even though the secondary lien holder often gets nothing if the home ends up going into foreclosure,” said NAR President Moe Veissi, in a statement. “While efforts have been made to improve primary lien holders’ response times, issues still abound with second and subsequent lien holders, and this legislation is a step in the right direction.”

The NAR also stated that its members continue to report delays in completing short sale transactions due to drawn out response times for whether or not an offer was accepted.

In a recent DS News interview with RealtyTrac VP Daren Blomquist, issues with second liens was also noted as problem for servicers when attempting to complete a short sale transaction.

The bill is cosponsored by Reps. Dennis Cardoza (D-California), Tom Rooney (R-Florida), George Miller (D-California), Jim Costa (D-California), Barbara Lee (D-California), and Richard Nugent (R-Florida).