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FHFA Reports Mortgage Interest Rates, March 2009


Washington, D.C. – The Federal Housing Finance Agency today reported that the average interest rate on conventional 30-year, fixed-rate, mortgage loans of $417,000 or less increased 2 basis points to 5.05 percent in March. The average interest rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans of $417,000 or less decreased 14 basis points to 4.78 percent in March. These rates are calculated from the FHFA’s Monthly Interest Rate Survey (MIRS) of purchase-money mortgages. These results reflect loans closed during the March 25–31 period. Typically, the interest rate is determined 30 to 45 days before the loan is closed. Thus, the reported rates depict market conditions prevailing in mid- to late-February.

The contract rate on the composite of all mortgage loans (fixed- and adjustable-rate) was 5.05 percent in March up 2 basis points from 5.03 percent in February. The effective interest rate, which reflects the amortization of initial fees and charges, was 5.14 percent in March up 2 basis points from 5.12 percent in February.

This report contains no data on adjustable-rate mortgages due to insufficient sample size.

Initial fees and charges were 0.60 percent of the loan balance in March, up 0.03 percent from 0.57 in February. Forty-three percent of the purchase-money mortgage loans originated in March were "no-point" mortgages, down from forty-seven percent in February. The average term was 28.1 years in March, unchanged from February. The average loan-to-price ratio in March was 74.7 percent, up from 74.4 percent in February. The average loan amount increased by $1,000 to $209,900 in March.

The National Average Contract Mortgage Rate for the Purchase of Previously Occupied Homes by Combined Lenders, used as an index in some ARM contracts, was 5.06 percent based on loans closed in March. This is an increase of 0.02 percent from the previous month. This Contract rate series can be found at www.fhfa.gov/DataTools/Downloads/Pages/Monthly-Interest-Rate-Data.aspx.

 National Average Contract Mortgage Rate Graph: March 2008 - March 2009

Source: FHFA

The MIRS was previously released by the Federal Housing Finance Board (FHFB). Recorded information on this index is available by calling (202) 408-2940. For technical questions on this index, please call David Roderer at (202) 408-2540. The April index value will be announced on May 28, 2009.

Technical note: The data is based on a monthly survey of major lenders that are asked to report the terms and conditions on all conventional, single-family, fully amortized, purchase-money loans closed the last five working days of the month. The data thus excludes FHA-insured and VA-guaranteed mortgages, refinancing loans, and balloon loans. This month’s data is based on 6,524 reported loans from 45 lenders, representing savings associations, mortgage companies, commercial banks, and mutual savings banks. The effective interest rate includes the amortization of initial fees and charges over a 10-year period, which is the historical assumption of the average life of a mortgage loan. The data is weighted to reflect the shares of mortgage lending by lender size and lender type as reported in the latest release of the Federal Reserve Board’s Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data.



The Federal Housing Finance Agency regulates Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks. These government-sponsored enterprises provide more than $6.3 trillion in funding for the U.S. mortgage markets and financial institutions.

Corinne Russell (202) 649-3032 / Stefanie Johnson (202) 649-3030
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